Posts categorized as Birds

New Zealand’s favourite bird

  • Kakapo - out of sight, but not completely out of mind. Image: Dylan van Winkel, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Eastern rosella - the most-viewed introduced species on New Zealand Birds Online. Image: Josie Galbraith, New Zealand Birds Online
  • The North Island brown kiwi was the most viewed kiwi species, but was only the 32nd most viewed species. Image: Rod Morris (Department of Conservation), New Zealand Birds Online
  • caption

Have you ever wondered what is New Zealand’s favourite bird? Forest & Bird ask this question annually, but their ‘Bird of the Year’ competition is skewed by the unashamed lobbying of passionate bird lovers, along with alleged multiple voting, leaving us none the wiser as to what is our true national favourite. The New Zealand Birds… Read more »

Elephant bird DNA reveals that the Kiwi is not an Aussie

Alan Cooper holds a giant elephant bird leg bone in front of a kiwi skeleton for media as Alan Tennyson looks on. Photo: Jean-Claude Stahl © Te Papa

A study published in the journal Science today reveals a new and unexpected origin for New Zealand’s iconic kiwi and overturns the previous idea that the ancestors of kiwi flew directly over from Australia (see Miocene fossils show that Kiwi are probably not phyletic dwarves, Paleornithological Research 2013, and St Bathan’s kiwi – NZ Birds Online). … Read more »

The Albatross in the Cupboard

Nina Powles is a graduate student of English Literature at Victoria University. She wrote this blog post for a course in Creative Science Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters. She currently lives in Wellington. Photographer: Wen Powles © Wen Powles

Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters is justifiably famous.  One of its innovative creative writing courses goes by the intriguing acronym of  ‘CREW352’.  CREW352 is creative science writing. Recently, CREW352 student Nina Powles interviewed Dr Susan Waugh, Senior Curator of Sciences at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Here is Nina’s… Read more »

Snares Islands – first impressions

  • Vegetation surrounding boat harbour. Snares Islands, North-East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • The brown skua (Catharacta antarctica) swooping our cameraman on Station Point. Snares Islands, North-East Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa.
  • Antony Kusabs, Collection Manaqger at the South Promontory sign post with Alert Stack and South-west promontory in background. Snares Islands, North East Isalnd. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Titi () at dusk. Snares Islands, North East Island, Muttonbird Ridge. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.

A Te Papa team recently visited the Snares Islands Nature Reserve, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island, where they completed a range of seabird and plant research projects. Here, Antony Kusabs (Collection Manager Sciences) describes his first impressions of the Snares Islands, his first trip to a New Zealand Sub-Antarctic island group. Watch Science Live: Expedition Snares Islands… Read more »

Hugh Pollen (1851-1912) – the ultimate faceless bureaucrat?

Hugh Pollen was the influential head of New Zealand’s largest government department for 20 years – but what did he look like? Hugh was the son of medical doctor, civil servant and politician Daniel Pollen (1813-96), who was briefly (1875-76) Premier of New Zealand – i.e. the pre-1907 equivalent of Prime Minister. Hugh entered public… Read more »