Posts tagged with Birds

Another extinct bird: Northland’s unique shag

Leucocarbo Tennyson 216

Curator of vertebrates Alan Tennyson discusses another previously unknown New Zealand bird extinction, published in a new article today.  Last month it was revealed that New Zealand had lost its unique swan in prehistoric times. That list of extinctions continues to grow at an alarming rate as research, led by an Otago University team, published… Read more »

The global hunt for the original wandering albatross

"Chocolate albatross" in Vienna

Vertebrate Curator Alan Tennyson explores the history of the name of the wandering albatross and the hunt for the original specimens. The wandering albatross is one of the world’s greatest ocean wanderers, with individuals circumnavigating the Southern Ocean and travelling 120,000 km in a year. These albatrosses have been among the most high-profile of seabirds ever since… Read more »

DNA reveals relationships of the extinct Scarlett’s shearwater

Scarlett's Shearwater, Puffinus spelaeus, collected 18 Oct 1991, Te Ana Titi Cave, Fox River (station 131, cave metre grid -82N -98E), New Zealand. Field Collection 1986. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (S.028002)

Research scientist Lara Shepherd and vertebrate curator Alan Tennyson look at the relationships of extinct seabird, the Scarlett’s shearwater (Puffinus speleus) in a newly published paper. New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world with more endemic seabird species than anywhere else. But before humans arrived with their exotic predators we used to have even more species…. Read more »

Feather identification workshop, Whanganui Regional Museum

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In a collaboration between National Services Te Paerangi and Whanganui Regional Museum, Te Papa’s bicultural researcher Hokimate Harwood brought her extensive feather identification skills to a community of 30 weavers and bird enthusiasts earlier this year. Hokimate’s feather identification research looks to decode materials and messages within kākahu | feather cloaks. This means bringing together… Read more »

He huia tangata tahi – there is but one person synonymous with the huia, the chief

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Ngā rau kura – Precious feathers In 2007 I identified the birds in Te Papa’s Māori cloaks using microscopic analyses of feather down and museum bird skin comparisons. My findings have provided a deeper knowledge of the museum’s natural history and Māori collections but also an appreciation and understanding of Māori bird use at the… Read more »

Travels with Betsy – exploring the world of albatross personality

  • A discussion in the field hut around the days activities. Betsy was a keen contributor to how we developed our testing regime. Left to right: Research assistants Tim Poepart, Julien Collet and CNRS researcher Dr Samantha Patrick. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Samantha Patrick, CNRS research repairs Betsy after a particularly intense interaction with a 'bold' albatross. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • A birds with a more 'bold' response to meeting Betsy, clacks its bill and grumbles as Betsy is pulled away. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Research assistant Julien Collet presents Betsy to an unsuspecting albatross on the nest. Photo: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.

Do albatrosses have personalities? And if so, how do scientists measure such intangible characteristics? This blog provides some of the background to research Te Papa scientists were involved in, examining how birds use their environment, and how individual personality traits of these birds can be measured. The previous blogs on this topic can be accessed here…. Read more »

Makara students go ‘behind the scenes’

The students are shown a white-bellied sea eagle.

Back in July, students from Makara Model School had the chance to meet some Te Papa curators and get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at part of our Natural History collection store. This opportunity came about as part of Science Live: Expedition Snares Island that was broadcast earlier in the year. By asking our scientists a question… Read more »

Meet the photographers of NZ Birds Online #1 – Glenda Rees

Juvenile mōhua (yellowhead), Eglinton Valley, Fiordland. Photographer: Glenda Rees © Glenda Rees, courtesy NZ Birds Online

Packed full of stunning pictures, detailed information and beautiful bird calls, NZ Birds Online is an online encyclopaedia of birds created in collaboration between Te Papa, DOC and OSNZ. We’re indebted to the photographers who’ve shared their images with us – and now the world! First up in our Meet the photographers series is Glenda Rees, an avid… Read more »

Khandallah kids go ‘behind the scenes’

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Readers may remember that as part of sunfish science extravaganza, a group of Khandallah School students won our competition to name the fish. Their winning name was Sunny Bill, and this morning they visited our natural history collection as part of their prize. The 28 students from room 5 arrived at the Tory St building… Read more »

Crazy about kākā? We have the website for you!

  • Kakapo. Adult male (Sirocco). Maud Island, 2007. Image © Dylan van Winkel by Dylan van Winkel
  • Spotted shag Philip Griffin
  • North Island saddleback Philip Griffin
  • Male bellbird Peter Reese

Are you crazy about kākā? Smitten by stitchbirds? Wild about weka? NZ Birds Online is the website for you! Created in collaboration between Te Papa, DOC and OSNZ, NZ Birds Online is an online encyclopaedia of birds packed full of stunning pictures, detailed information and beautiful bird calls. Take a look at some of the… Read more »