Late 19th century | Parson bird


As the European colony in New Zealand grew, ministers became more common. The tuft of white feathers at the tūī’s throat reminded settlers of the white collar of a minister or parson. The name parson bird became fashionable for the tūī.

In his famous book, The History of the Birds of New Zealand, Walter Buller (1888) described the tūī: “To those familiar with the bird, this name [parson bird] is certainly appropriate; for when indulging in its strain of wild notes it displays these ‘bands’, and gesticulates in a manner forcibly suggestive of the declamatory style of preaching.”


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