Percy Bagnall made this colour lithograph of two black-backed gulls in 1919. The plaintive call of these birds, the largest of the three New Zealand gulls, resonates around the coastline. The wailing cry inspired poetry of lamentation:
Tangi amio ana te karoro it te awa.
Ngā tohu o te ipo unuhia noatia.
The gulls circle the channel, crying.
They are signs my beloved is taken from me.
Quoted in Margaret Orbell, Birds of Aotearoa. Auckland: Reed, 2003, pp. 148–9
Using this item
Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Lithograph by Percy Bagnall, 1919
Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.