Chatham Island tūī


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

New Zealand status: Endemic to the Chatham Islands
Conservation status: Nationally Vulnerable
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
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   North Rd
Te One
Chatham Island
Postal Address:   PO Box 114
Chathams 8942
Emergency hotline

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

On your property

  • Trap predators on your property.
  • Be a responsible cat owner.

In your community

  • Find and volunteer with your local community group 
  • Trap predators in your community
  • Get kids or schools involved

See Predator Free 2050 Trust - get involved for information.

Visiting parks, beaches, rivers, and lakes

  • Leave nesting birds alone.
  • Use available access ways to get to the beach. 
  • Avoid leaving old fishing lines in the water.
  • Follow the water care code and local navigation bylaws.
  • Do not drive on riverbeds, or keep to formed tracks if you have to.
  • Check for pests if visiting pest-free islands.

With your dog

  • Only take dogs to areas that allow them, and keep them under control.
  • If you come across wildlife put your dog on a lead and lead it away. 
  • Warn other dog owners at the location.
  • Notify DOC if you see wildlife being harassed by people or dogs.
  • Get your dog trained in avian awareness.
  • Learn about the Lead the Way programme which encourages dog owners to become wildlife wise and know how to act to protect coastal wildlife.

Specific ways to keep wildlife safe while with your dog on beaches.

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