Story: Small forest birds

Tūī collecting honeydew

Honeydew is a sweet, sticky substance excreted by scale insects, which live in large numbers on the trunks of beech trees. It is an important food source for tūī and bellbirds when nectar is in short supply. This tūī is collecting honeydew drops from fine, hair-like tubes that protrude from each insect. Introduced common wasps compete with birds for this food.

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How to cite this page:

Christina Troup, 'Small forest birds - Honeyeaters – bellbirds and tūī', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 April 2024)

Story by Christina Troup, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015, updated 1 Aug 2023