Abel Tasman – Tuis, Bellbirds, and Silvereyes

One thing I love about Abel Tasman National Park is the abundance of Tui, Bellbird, and Silvereyes. An abundance of flowering plants naturally means an abundance of nectar-sipping birds.

Silvereyes are at the bottom nectar-sipping bird hierarchy. They are tiny when compared to the larger Tui and Bellbird, and usually try grab a sip when the Bellbird and Tui are fighting each other.

The Bellbird is in the middle platform of the hierarchy. They will boss around the silvereyes but get bossed around by the Tui. Because of their larger numbers, the Tui can’t constantly chase them away from the nectar so there’s always a few sneaky Bellbirds stealing sips. 

The Tui claim the top spot in the hierarchy. They boss around basically any bird that dares come near their precious nectar. Unfortunately, the Tui are prone to fighting among themselves, allowing the smaller birds to sneak a sip. The constant fighting gives photographers (like me) the opportunity to try and capture the birds in flight as they chase their neighbours. 

The convenience of getting to the flax grove I found meant I could even photograph these nectar-sippers in the early morning.

There are many more species of nectar-sippers in NZ but these are the most common species.

All photos taken with Canon R7, Canon EF-S 55-250mm Lens, and Sigma 150-600mm Lens.

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