Chatham Island tūī 
Image: Leon Berard | Creative Commons

Introduction

The Chatham Island tūī is a threatened subspecies of mainland tūī. It is larger and has longer throat tufts than its mainland counterpart. Its song is also significantly different.

Highlights

New Zealand status: Endemic (to the Chatham Islands)
Conservation status: Threatened–Nationally Endangered
Population: Scarce on Chatham Island, but locally abundant on Pitt and Rangitara Islands
Found in: Chatham Islands
Threats: Predation, habitat loss

Sound recording:

Chatham Island tūī song (MP3, 2,982K)
03:10 – Adult male territorial calls.

Species information: Tui on NZ Birds Online

Chatham Island tūī conservation

Largely confined to Rangatira and Pitt Islands, the Chatham Island tūī has recently been restored to Chatham Island. The population on Rangatira is about 250 birds. The size of the Pitt Island population is unknown, but it appears that most of the breeding takes place on Rangatira.

They are the only remaining honey eater on the Chatham Islands, following the extinction of the Chatham Island bellbird in the early 1900s.

The main causes of decline are likely to be the loss of habitat, and predation by feral cats, rodents and possums. DOC is focussed on keeping the offshore island habitats of the Chatham Island tūī free of rodents and other predators.

Translocation success

In March 2009 DOC assisted the Taiko Trust to translocate 14 juvenile Chatham Island tūī from Rangatira Island to Chatham Island. Not only did all 14 survive, but they started breeding in the spring of 2009.

This transfer proved to be a huge success. The tūī remained to breed and formed the centre of a permanent population, and tūī have begun to spread across the Chatham Islands.

The enthusiasm and support among locals was outstanding. It was the first major community-led project in the Chathams, and emphasised how much community conservation trusts can achieve.

The trust and DOC are continuing work to assist tūī recovery to a wider area. This includes advocating for the protection of forest, and reducing predator numbers in reserves around the Chatham Island.

Find out more about the work of the Taiko Trust.

You can help

If you are travelling to the Chatham Islands, or transporting goods or livestock there, be careful that you don't introduce pest animals and plants or diseases. These could threaten the flora and fauna in this unique environment.

Report sightings of tūī on Chatham Island to DOC.

Rekohu / Wharekauri / Chatham Island Office
Phone:   +64 3 305 0098
Address:   North Rd
Te One
Chatham Island
Email:   chathamislands@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
 
Emergency hotline

Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) immediately if you see anyone catching, harming or killing native wildlife. 

Help protect our native birds

When visiting parks, beaches, rivers, and lakes
  • Only take dogs to areas that allow them, and keep them under control.
  • Check for pests when visiting pest-free islands.
  • Leave nesting birds alone.
  • Use available access ways to get to the beach. 
  • Avoid leaving old fishing lines on beaches or in the sea.
  • Follow the water care code and local navigation bylaws.
  • Don't drive on riverbeds, or keep to formed tracks if you have to.
Other ways to help
  • Get your dog trained in avian awareness.
  • Volunteer to control predators and restore bird habitats.
  • Set predator traps on our property.
  • Put a bell on your cat's collar, feed it well, and keep it indoors at dusk/dawn and at night.
Back to top