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The King Country; or, Explorations in New Zealand. A Narrative of 600 Miles of Travel through Maoriland.



By far the most attractive part of the New Zealand fauna is the birds, which include some of the most beautiful species of the feathered tribe. Of these the following are among the most remarkable:—

  • Hihipopokero.—Turdvs albifrons. A small brown bird with a white head.
  • Hioi.—Ptilocinctatis. A ground-lark, very common on the plains of the interior of North Island.
  • Huia.—Genus Melliphagus. A black bird, about the size of a jay; it has two little fleshy lappets under the beak: its tail feathers, tipped with white, are much prized by the Maories as ornaments for the hair.page 361
  • Hurukiwi.—A wild duck.
  • Kahu.—Falcon harpe. A large hawk.
  • Kaiaia.—A sparrow-hawk.
  • Kaka.—Nestor meridionalis. A large greenish-brown parrot. The author found this bird to be very common in the forests of the Whanganui, where its harsh note was the first sound to break the morning stillness. This family of parrots is characterized by an aquiline or overlapping beak.
  • Kakapo.—Strigaps habroptilus. A ground parrot; colour, green and yellow; it does not fly, although it has wings, but hops from branch to branch; it is nocturnal in its habits.
  • Kakariki.—Platycerus Novœ Zealandiœ. A pretty, green parrot.
  • Karewarewa.—Falco brunnea. A quail-hawk.
  • Katatai.—Ralus assimilus. A kind of rail.
  • Kauau.—Graculus carunculatus. A shag or cormorant.
  • Kea.—A large parrot, common in the South Island. It was formerly a vegetarian, but in recent times it has developed a strong taste for flesh, and has wrought great destruction among sheep flocks. The fat surrounding the kidney appears to be its chief delight. Planting its strong claws into the woolly loins of the live sheep, it, by the aid of its powerful beak, pierces through those parts of the flesh and fat around the kidney, which it greedily devours, while the animal is powerless to resist its attacks.
  • Kereru.—Columbus spadicea. A wood-pigeon.
  • Kiwi.—Fam. Struthionidœ. (See Wingless Birds.)
  • Kohihi.—Endynamys taitensis. A bird.
  • Kohaperoa.—A bird of passage, the New Zealand cuckoo; it is a handsome bird, spotted like the sparrow-hawk.
  • Kokako.—The New Zealand crow.
  • Kororeke.—The New Zealand quail.
  • Koriniako.—Genus Melliphagus. The bell-bird, one of the sweetest songsters.
  • Kotare.—Halcyon vagrans. The king-fisher.
  • Kotuku.—Ardea flavirostris. A large white crane.
  • Koukou.—A small nocturnal owl, the "morepork" of the colonists.
  • Kuruengo.—The shoveller, a duck of Lake Taupo.
  • Mata.—A swamp-sparrow, a small brown bird with long tail feathers.
  • Matuku.—Botaurus melanotus. A bittern.
  • Mirmiro.—Miro albifrons. A small, graceful bird.
  • Moa.—Fam. Struthionidœ. (See Wingless Birds.)
  • Moakeroa.—A black bird with red bill and feet.page 362
  • Ngirungiru.—-Petroica macrocophala. A tomtit.
  • Parera.—Anas superciliosa. A wild duck.
  • Pihana.—A little black and white bird.
  • Pihoihoi.—The New Zealand ground-lark.
  • Piwakawaka.—Rhipidura flabellifera. The fantail fly catcher, a small graceful bird with a spreading tail.
  • Poaka.—Himantopis. Pied stilt.
  • Popokatea.—Orthornyx heteroalytus. The New Zealand canary bird.
  • Poporoihewa.—A snipe-like bird.
  • Puetoeto.—A bird living in swamps.
  • Pukeko.—Porophyrino melanotus. The swamp-hen; red bill and feet, back black, breast bright blue.
  • Putaugitange.—Casarca variegata. The paradise-duck.
  • Riroriro.—Fam. Luscindœ. A small wren.
  • Ruru.—Strigidœ Athene. An owl.
  • Takupu.—A white gull.
  • Tarapunga.—A small gull, frequenting Lake Taupo.
  • Tatarihuka.—A small bird, held sacred by the Maories.
  • Tatariki.—Fam. Luscindœ. A small bird.
  • Tewakawaka.—Fam. Rhipidura fuliginosa. The black fantail.
  • Titi.—Palecanoides urinatrix. The mutton-bird
  • Toetoe.—Certhiparus Novœ Zealandiœ. A small bird.
  • Totoara.—The robin.
  • Tui.—Prosthemadera Novœ Zealandiœ. The parson-bird. A beautiful black bird, the size of a thrush; plumage a lustrous blue-black, irradiated with green hues, pencilled with silver-grey, and white delicate hair-feathers under the throat, suggestive of a parson's tie. It has a melodious, clear note, and mocks other birds. It is easily domesticated, and may be taught to talk.
  • Weka.—Ralus Australis. A large rail, the wood-hen, frequently met with on the high land of the interior.
  • Wio.—The blue mountain duck.
  • Wiorau.—A small grey duck, frequenting the forest streams.