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Orokonui Ecosanctuary Wiki

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(class Aves or clade Avialae)

Bird definition

  • Feathers, beak - no teeth, lay hard-shelled eggs, high metabolic rate, four-chambered heart, lightweight strong skeleton. Modern birds have wings; species without wings were moa
  • Birds, especially corvids (NZ raven) and parrots - kaka, kea, kakapo and kakariki etc are among the most intelligent animal species; several bird species make and use tools, and many social species culturally transmit knowledge across generations.
  • Many species migrate, some perform shorter irregular movements.
  • Birds are social, communicating with visual signals, calls, and songs, and participating in such social behaviours as cooperative hunting, flocking, and mobbing of predators.
  • The majority of bird species are monogamous, usually for one breeding season, sometimes for years, but rarely for life.
  • Eggs are usually laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching.
  • Birds play prominent and diverse roles in folklore, religion, and culture.


  • Kereru - kukupa and kuku are all other names - resemblance to sound made when cooing, kuu, kuu
  • Roll as seed disperser especially important since moa extinction - tawa and other big berries can only be eaten by kereru - weep, weep tawa mamas need their babies to be spread far and wide
  • Large mouth - pineapple eater if human size
  • Frugivorous, primarily eating fruits and drupes. Also browses on leaves and buds, especially nitrogen rich foliage during breeding - kowhia, broom??
  • Plumage owes colour to Maui the trickster who tried to follow his mother by first hiding her beautiful coloured skirt, then as she plunged into dark hole Maui followed her in the form of a bird wearing the skirt
  • Munch discard, munch discard - gulp, slide across tongue, squeeze down oesophagus and plop into the crop - the temporary food storage pouch. Then into the proventriculus another storage area that uses enzymes to break down the food. Squeezed into the gizzard, a specialized stomach constructed of thick muscular walls, which grinds up food using small pebbles. Then intestines, sausage like to the cloaca which is the posterior opening for soft blankets covering seeds - a mix of poos and wees!