Whitehead chicks, native new zealand bird

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The Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) or Popokotea is a small species of passerine bird endemic to New Zealand. I spotted these little guys waiting for their mother to feed them on Tiritri Matangi wildlife sanctuary island in the Haruki Gulf near Auckland.

The whitehead held a special place in Maori culture, especially as the hakuturi, a multitude of small birds sometimes called Te Tini o te Hakuturi – “The myriads of Hakuturi”, the spirit guardians of the forest. In a Ngati Mahuta story, the culture hero Rata went into the forest and cut down a tree to make a canoe, but failed to perform the proper placatory rites to Tane, god of the forest. Whiteheads and Riflemen whistled shrilly at him in admonishment and gathered together the pieces of the tree until it stood whole again. This happened several times until Rata showed remorse and the birds felled the tree and made the canoe for him.

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of Blather.net, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.