Story: Land birds – overview


New Zealand has relatively few native passerines (perching birds) compared to other regions. But one is well known – the tūī, a beautiful songster. The tūī and bellbird are related to Australian honeyeaters. Their ancestors probably flew or were blown across the Tasman Sea, and then evolved into new species.

Listen to a tūī sing.

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Private collection
Photograph by Penny Carnaby

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Sound file from Birds of New Zealand. Compact disc. © Viking Sevenseas NZ, 1980 (available from PO Box 152, Paraparaumu). All rights reserved.

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How to cite this page:

Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 'Land birds – overview - Land bird groups and their origins', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 July 2022)

Story by Kerry-Jayne Wilson, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 20 Apr 2015