Bellbird on a fuchsia tree
By Cushla McGaughey
Bellbirds or korimako, and the larger, more dominant tui belong to our unique honeyeater family. Their slender, curved bills and long, brush-tipped tongues can reach deep-set nectar. As the birds feed, pollen dusts their heads, transferring from flower to flower.
The bellbird is arguably an even more outstanding songbird than the tui. The bell-like notes for which the bird is named sound their finest at dawn and dusk.
Kotukutuku is the world’s tallest fuchsia, a tree growing 13 metres high. The flowers turn from green and purple to red as they age. Bellbirds are particularly fond of konini, the delicious little berries of kotukutuku, eating them as soon as they start to colour.