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Forest Lore of the Maori

The Popokatea or Whitehead:

The Popokatea or Whitehead:

The popokatea, tataeto, tatahore, or moriorio (and its fifteen other names) is Certhiparus albicapillus, and it is a small creature to bear the weight of nineteen names. Natives of upper Whanganui call this bird moriorio, and say that when a flock of these whiteheads page 326comes flitting through the woods, then you know that kehua, ghosts, spirits of the dead, are abroad. Such a flock would occasionally, in former times, contain a few tieke or tihe (saddle-backs or stitch-birds), and sometimes attacked and drove away any stray owl seen. As to the disputed name of popokotea Dieffenbach gives this as the name of a grey bird with yellow breast and belly seen at Queen Charlotte Sound, possibly the South Island form of our whitehead. Dieffenbach gives pitoiti as the name of the robin, and pilantgalangi as that of "a little delicate bird, "that has a jet-black head and back, with yellow forehead and belly. We need not take these weird names seriously.