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Tōrea call

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

When the tōrea (pied oystercatcher) calls ‘keria’ (dig) it is seen as the sign of an approaching storm – implying that people should dig for shellfish before bad weather arrives. When the tōrea cries ‘tōkia’, the storm is over. Listen to the tōrea calling. Is a ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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South Island pied oystercatcher with eggs

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This South Island pied oystercatcher is nesting in the Cass valley, a typical stony riverbed of inland Canterbury’s Southern Alps. The nest consists of a shallow scrape, and the eggs are well camouflaged. This makes them inconspicuous to predatory birds, but vulnerable to careless crushing ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Brown kiwi

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Brown kiwi are found in some North Island forests. While the feathers of flying birds are flattened and smoothed for aerodynamic effect, kiwi feathers are hair-like and fluffed up for better insulation. Kiwi have tiny wings, and get about on muscular legs that have strong, heavy bones. Their long...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Green and golden bell frog

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The green and golden bell frog was introduced to Auckland from Sydney in the 1860s. The brownish eardrum shows clearly, just behind the eye. The female grows to 9 centimetres, and the smaller male to 6 centimetres. It lays thousands of eggs on water, and these hatch as small black tadpoles. With ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Black stilts in flight

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This pair of black stilts is flying above the Cass Valley in the Mackenzie Basin, one of their last strongholds. They breed in isolation on the banks above river braids, or nearby side streams and wetlands. The shallow edges are where they search for food, ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage