Tui – Timing!

illustration of Tui by Ravenari

‘Have you ever wished to understand the secrets of synchronicity? How serendipity happens in this world of ours? When people shake their heads at the universe and say, ‘timing!’ I am a singer of these true connections between us all. Let’s follow the threads together to the loved ones, the pathways, the landscapes that sing to us best.’


The Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is a medium-sized blue, green and bronze bird with a white throat tuft that lives in New Zealand. They prefer to live in broadleaf forests at low altitudes, but can live in many conditions, including suburbs with plenty of trees. They can be found in pairs, family groups or larger groups depending on the availability of food. Tuis compete with bellbirds for the same food, and are at the top of the hierarchy between the two, so will often chase bellbirds away from food sources. They primarily eat nectar, as well as insects, pollen, and seeds. They are important pollinators.

The flight of the tui is audible. Their mating displays include vertical climbs followed by diving in the air. Male tui can be aggressive and chase other birds from their territory. Tui will also mob birds of prey and magpies. Tui are noisy, able to make a variety of sounds, and mimic complex human speech, much like parrots. Tui will sometimes sing at night, especially during the full-moon. The status of the Tui is currently considered secure, though they are threatened by habitat destruction and predation by feral species like brushtail possums, stoats, cats, rats, and other birds.