Art. XXX.—Further Notes on New Zealand Bird-song: Kapiti Island.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 24th October, 1917; received by Editors, 31st December, 1917; issued separately, 24th June, 1918.]
The figures accompanying this article contain the new notes observed since publication of the paper in the Transactions of 1917.* As before, for convenience of reference, the variations in the notes of each species of bird have been numbered consecutively from (1) onwards, the earlier numbers appearing in Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 422; vol. 43, p. 656; vol. 45, p. 387; vol. 47, p. 593; vol. 49,. p. 519. Reference is at times made to these earlier-numbered variations. As practically the whole of the notes were recorded on Kapiti, the island bird sanctuary in Cook Strait, it has been thought advisable to prefix a list of the birds occurring on the island, and seen or heard by me:—
Pied fantail (piwakawaka), Rhipidura flabellifera.
*Grey warbler (riroriro), Pseudogerygone igata.
White-breasted tit (miromiro), Petroeca toitoi.
North Island robin (toutouwai), Miro australis.
Whitehead (pokotea), Certhiparus albicapillus.
Ground-lark (pihoihoi), Anthus novae-zealandiae.
*Blight-bird (tauhou), Zosterops caerulescens.
Tui, Prosthemadera novae-zealandiae.
Bell-bird (korimako), Anthornis melanura.
Rifleman (titipounamu), Acanthidositta chloris.
*Shining cuckoo (pipiwharauroa), Chalcococcyx lucidus.
Long-tailed cuckoo (koekoea), Urodynamis taitensis.
Kingfisher (kotare), Halcyon vagans.
Pigeon (kukupa), Hemiphaga novae-zealandiae.
Kaka, Nestor meridionalis.
Red-fronted parrakeet (kakariki), Cyanorhamphus novae-zealandiae.
†Antipodes Island parrakeet, Cyanorhamphus unicolor.
Morepork (ruru), Ninox novae-zealandiae.
Woodhen (weka), Ocydromus sp.
†Kiwi, Apteryx sp.
Blue heron (matuku), Demiegretta sacra.
Blue petrel, Halobaena caerulea.
Mutton-bird (titi), Oestrelata sp.
Gannet (takapu), Sula serrator.
Tern (tara), Sterna sp.
Gull (karoro), Larus sp.
Song-thrush, Turdus musicus.
Skylark, Alauda arvensis.
Goldfinch, Carduelis elegans.
Starling, Sturnus vulgaris.
Californian quail, Callipepla californica.
[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 49, pp. 519–30.
The birds marked * I neither saw nor heard, but I was assured by the caretaker, Mr. J. L. Bennett, to whom I am deeply indebted for consideration shown to me whilst on the island, and by Mr. Webber, who resides at the north end of the island, that they are plentiful at times. The two marked † have been introduced, and appear to have established themselves. A longer residence on the island—I was there three weeks—would probably show a large increase in the number of sea-birds; and the lagoon in the north is visited by ducks, but I saw none whilst there. I saw no live thrush, but found one dead and heard one sing. Goldfinches suddenly appeared, in flocks. Skylarks were there in numbers, and starlings also. On the evening of the 2nd January, 1917, lying on the hillside, my attention was attracted by a moving cloud above Evans Islet*—a small islet off the coast of Kapiti, and lying between it and the mainland. The cloud vanished, and formed, and vanished, like a cloud high in the blue sky of summer, only with swifter transitions. It was a flight of starlings, many hundreds in number, and the cloud formed by the crowded birds appeared and disappeared according as they presented an edge or full body as they flew. The unanimity of movement must have been perfect to cause the regular melting and reappearing of the cloud. The birds gather from many quarters on the mainland, and every evening fly in thousands to Evans Islet, passing the night there, and leaving again, flock by flock, in the morning. A similar habit is observed in Britain, but I have seen no note of such nightly haunt, or starlingery, being divided by the sea from their daily resort. Evans Islet is over two miles from the mainland, and is uninhabited and unoccupied. There is another starlingery on the mainland in a plantation of blue-gums close to Paraparaumu, between it and the sea; and at sunset there is a great clamour of twittering before the birds settle down for the night. I am told that the birds visit Evans Islet nightly during the breeding season also, but not in such great numbers. I was surprised to see not a single sparrow; but it is quite possible that this bird, and the other finches, may pay occasional visits: they have, indeed, been reported there at various times.
I did not see a great number of fantails at Kapiti, but all that I did see were pied. Their song was generally the common whistling song, (15) and (15A), heard about Wellington. The notes of (20) were heard on the 10th January, 1917, the phrase being repeated twice or oftener each time it was sung. The high notes may be slurred downwards slightly in the change of vocalization from ee to a in teea, the sound of which was almost dear dear dear.
When I heard the first song I did not see the bird, but the sound was the same as that of the yellow-breasted tit's little plaintive warble. On
[Footnote] * Maori name, Tokumapuna; known locally as Toku.
this occasion it was vocalized ri-di-dl, ri-dl, ri-dl (short “i” as in “pit”), and it was sung at about eight quavers in a second. There was a very short grace note before the first E, and traces of it at times before the others. The phrase was sung two or three times with two or three seconds' pause between the repetitions. Nine days later I saw the bird singing (2), which in sound was nearer a whistle, but gave very faint traces of the same vocalization as (1).
North Island Robin.
I saw a robin singing the first day I was on Kapiti. It was in a shady, watered gully close on the beach, and he sat singing a few feet distant—a gentle, bright warble, not so cheery as that of the whitehead, nor so shrill, but more varied and longer continued. I was not yet armed with paper and whistle, so was unable to take any notes, nor did I attempt anything but enjoy the song, thinking I should hear him often enough, since he greeted me thus on the first day. In this I was disappointed; and I have found that in these observations unless a record is noted down at once it is probably never noted.
On the 12th January, 1917, as I was climbing a bush-grown spur, a robin appeared in the midst of a manuka thicket, and on my sitting down it approached until within a foot of my side. After a time it uttered a very subdued sound like che-e-er, almost like the muffled mewing of a kitten. It was apparently a young bird, for presently another approached and quickly popped a cricket into its bill. As the second bird approached, the first che-e-er-ed louder and more continuously, and fluttered with its wings; then both went off together. The young bird was as big as the parent, and both appeared the same in colour—almost black on the back, grey on the belly, darker grey on the breast; and it was noticeable that the dark
hues of the back, head, and breast were marked with discontinuous longitudinal streaks of light grey, as if the body-plumage were grey, like the belly, and overlaid with the darker shades. I heard more che-e-er-ing close by in another direction, so other young ones were evidently being fed. I saw a goodly number of young during the day—three at one time.
The call-notes (1), heard several times, were clear, sharp whistles, uttered at the rate of six or seven semiquavers or their equivalent a second; they are the same in quality as those of the South Island. A song was begun on the 12th January, 1917, but got no further than (2). Three days later, in the bush above the mid-valley of Taepiro, a robin immediately overhead broke into the song of (3). repeating the single phrase, usually as in (3A), but adding nothing more. The second note of the triplet was very faintly uttered, as if it were not quite a separate note, but a “catch,” and at a distance the sound of the phrase was simply ti tee-oo or ti ti tee-oo (short “i” as in “pit”). It was a sharp plaintive whistle, the plaintiveness coming in the slur. The robin went, whistling now and again from a receding distance, when suddenly a whitehead settled near by, and in sight and hearing whistled (4). The opening notes are its own; the close is an exact reproduction of the robin's phrase, save for the curious soft final echoing of the slur. I have heard many instances of apparent imitation by many birds, but this was the first occasion where the imitation was so palpable that it might be recorded as indubitable.
The commonest bird on the island, and the noisiest, was the whitehead: he was always to be seen and heard, in all places and at all times of the day. He is one of the optimists of the bush, finding pleasure everywhere, and never scrupling to make the fact known. His most frequent cry was a quick slurred note, as in (1), vocalized tswit. This was uttered almost incessantly as the bird searched for insects. He would pause occasionally, stand erect, with head elevated, beak open, tail vibrating, and cry “All's well with the world.” uttering the notes of (2) to (6), all of which, apparently, are calls that call for no reply, or replies to calls which may or may not have been given. At times one or other of these was uttered alone; at times in various combinations, two or three being connected, apparently at random. The notes of (2) varied from four to ten in number, descending enharmonically through from two to four semitones. The combinations most commonly used were (2) followed by (3) or (4), or (3) followed by (4). Less commonly (5) entered into the combination. The run (2) was very frequently sung, the small steps in the pitch being quite distinct; the vocalization chiu chiu, too, caused the notes to sound as if slurred downwards slightly in every case. The notes of (3), sung much faster, lost all trace of the slur, their vocalization, too, being ch ch ch instead of chiu chiu chiu. The notes of (4), an octave lower in pitch, were clear, mellow whistles, almost flute-like, quite different from the characteristic warble notes of (2) and (3): it was as though another bird concluded with (4) on the whitehead opening with (2); but the bird was seen many times whilst singing the two parts combined. One was heard warbling (2) (3), another answering with (2) alone. The notes of (2) were, in quality and fall, almost like the note of the chaffinch. When the combination (2) (3) (5) was sung, the result was rather plaintive, owing to the slurred crotchets at the close: usually the call-notes were loud, bright, vigorous, and cheerful. The combined call (2) (3) was uttered in about a second and a half.
It has been objected that the tempo of the notes is indicated in a roundabout way by saying “so-many in a second,” and that the musical terms existing for indicating tempo should be used. But the musical terms are altogether too indefinite: neither Lento nor Presto say exactly how slowly or how fast the tempo is intended. The only definite indication in music that will give the exact tempo is M.M. | • = 120, which signifies that on
Maelzel's metronome 120 crotchets are beaten in one minute. This would mean two crotchets in a second, or four quavers, so that the combination (2) (3) referred to, containing, say, six quavers uttered in a second and a half, is practically in the tempo M.M. •| = 120. It must be remarked that the tempo of the whitehead's song varied exceedingly, from about five to ten quavers a second—and that, too, within very short intervals of time. The bird would appear to become momentarily excited, when the notes increased both in tempo and in loudness. The combination (3) (4) might be varied as (6), where again the low notes were clear whistles. The slur entered into other calls, as in (7). This might be sung, at intervals, many times in succession, the time occupied being a second and a half: at times there was a vibrato on the slur. The slur of (8) was at times preceded by fuller and slower whistles as in (11), notes richer and more deliberate than the ordinary impatient warble notes. The time taken by (11) was from a second and a half to two seconds: the opening notes were sometimes sung alone, the E flat varying one to three in number. The half-song (8) was also, at times, followed by higher down-slurs (9) and (10), sometimes one, sometimes both, and (8) might then be repeated. The full phrase (11) (9) (10) (9) (8), or like combination, formed the rudiments of an agreeable song. The number of semiquavers in (8) and (11) was quite indefinite. The notes f (12) and (13) made up phrases well suited for song-building: the lower notes, as usual, were fuller and richer than the higher, and (13) had a plaintive close. The notes B G were not slurred, though they seemed connected in the phrasing, as though an intended slur were broken by a momentary closure, keeping both notes pure. There was a faint vibrato present, occasionally, on the G. The notes of (14) to (16) were clear whistles, varying in number from three pairs upwards, about four quavers a second. They were almost staccato, and were not always clear, being at times vocalized as in (14), when it sounded as though the bird had a stone in its mouth. The first short note was vocalized tu (short “u” as in “but”). There was a curious and irregular variation in this phrase: it might open as in (14), or the first four notes might be omitted; at times the last D was D flat, or the last two notes might be flat, as in (15), or there might be a succession of flat and natural pairs as in (16). These semitone variations were evidently under control, as the bird appeared to sing one or other at will, and whichever was sung was clear and unhesitating. The phrase (14) was reminiscent of the fantail's common song, and (17) of a less common song by the same bird: the triplets, a clear rapid whistle, were followed by the common enharmonic notes of (2). The phrase (18) was sung for several minutes continuously, either singly at intervals, or repeated twice, three times, or more. If three times, as in (19), a rapidly developed accelerato took place, from about six to ten or more quavers a second. In the vocalization the “i” and “e” were short. The sequence was varied as in (20) and (21).
Whilst the usual notes of the whitehead were simply phrases such as the foregoing, repeated either singly or in various combinations, it had also a true song—that is, a continuous strain, built up of various phrases combined so as not to be mere repetition. A portion of such a song is shown in (22). The phrases (b) and (c) entered into it largely, and these gave to the song its canary-like character. The phrase (d) is (a) repeated without rests, and with an accelerato running through it. Some of the notes were whistles, some warbles; those of (c) had the sound of being slurred.
The cry of (23) was probably that of a young bird: the note was vibrato, at first slow, in semiquavers, then rapidly faster until it throbbed like a cricket's chirr, and broken as indicated. The notes of (24), heard occasionally following (2), were very like the cry of the parrakeet. They were uttered alone at times, lasting half a second. The whitehead almost certainly imitates the robin; it is possible, in view of (14) and (17), that he imitates the fantail, and in view of (24) the parrakeet. His deeper notes, too, are often like those of the bell-bird, with which he at times associates. Again, it is possibly not mimicry at all, but a chance resemblance of a few of the notes to the notes of other birds.
There is a fair number of ground-larks on the open flats at Kapiti. I did not hear its song; but its call, during flight, is as in (2). These couples or threes are uttered in irregular sequence, and at irregular intervals.
The tui is very plentiful on Kapiti, and very tame. The call of (92) with its many variations—(92A) to (92J)—took the place of the five-bell call of the South. The repeated semiquavers varied from two to four, more often two or three, sung at the rate of about ten a second, the effect being the same as that of the rebounds of a hammer on an anvil. The commonest forms were (D) and (E), with three semiquavers; these were sung more or less every day. The variation (c), was uttered in about a second and a half at intervals of from fifteen to thirty seconds, the first note being strongly vocalized; in the whole of the variations, too, the first note was vocalized more or less. Variations (A) and (B) were sung at 3 o'clock in the morning, the difference in pitch being unvarying. Whether the notes were by one or tw birds it was impossible to say; they came apparently from the same quarter, and as they were calls before the morning chorus, in which several birds took part, they were possibly by two birds. The notes of (F) were sung in the air. The tui flew up, closed its wings, and dived perpendicularly from a height of 20–25 ft. into a karaka, spreading the wings and tail at the moment of entering the foliage. The notes were sung during the fall; time, under two seconds. The tsrr tsrr was almost a squeak, and the F was faintly vocalized kiau; the “i” of the G was short as in “pit”; the notes on B were in full flute tones. The opening notes were rarely downwards as in (G). At times the rebound quickened to a vibrato, as in (H) to (J). The vibrato, on the first part of the note only, was very light, though distinct. On the 25th December, 1916, a tui in the distance, at evening, sang (93). Occasionally he sang the three consecutive notes of (A), but more often he sang the notes singly, sometimes one, sometimes another, at intervals—about three in two seconds. At times he sang (B), more rarely (c)—all clear, flute-bell tones. (93D) was sung on the 2nd January, 1917, and in it the notes of a minor chord occur—an unusual
chord in the bird-world: it was sung several times, the value of two crotchets in a second. In (93F) occur the notes of an ordinary major chord; this, and (93E), were sung in the afternoon of the 3rd January. (93G) was in subdued, mellow, bell tones, the value of 3–4 crotchets a second. More sound may have followed, but no more was heard, and the bird was unseen. It is often impossible to say whether the notes of an unseen bird are sung by a tui or a bell-bird, they have so many in common; but the bell-bird's notes are chiefly characterized by their rapid speed of utterance, corresponding with the restless movements of the bird. On hearing the notes (93G) I unconsciously expected a fourth note, a D—and I suddenly became conscious that the first four notes were those of the opening of “Scenes that are Brightest.” This led me to hark back in memory to see if I could recollect other bird-phrases that recalled human melodies, but only one came to mind, a phrase by a bell-bird—B flat, B flat, E flat, G, B flat, E flat, B flat, G—which, with the addition of E flat, F, is the second line of “Mill May”: “The bob-o”-link sings on the tree.” So far from its being remarkable that bird-phrases should sometimes be the same as human melodies, it is to me remarkable that they are not more often the same.
The notes of (94), heard only occasionally, are reminiscent of calls in the South. The opening sounds, at three quavers a second, were like the sound of a bell through the horn of a gramophone; they were followed by the common call at a higher pitch. In (95), again, the notes of the chord are sounded. It was sung once only, after flight, and after a second flight the variation (95A). The notes were full flute notes, with regular vocalization, aw in the low notes, e of “net” in the medium, and ee of “sweet” in the high notes. The jews'-harp sound tanga or tanga-a-wang blended with perfect smoothness. There was a slight accent on the second note and on the dotted crotchet, and the whole phrase was sung in about two seconds. In (96) a whisper-song was broken into by the ordinary call, which was more reedy than bell-like, and might be reproduced on a clarionet. The whisper-song was nearer a warble than whistle or flute tone. The bird
sang whilst a gale of wind swayed the branches of the karaka in which he sat. The theme was varied by varying the position of the parts, as (c) (c) (a) (b) (c) (c) (c) (b) (c) (a) (c) (b), & c. The tempo was about eight semiquavers a second. The short phrase (97) was sung in the evening, softly, like the whisper-song. The first notes were vocalized sweet; the others were clear whistles, with a sound of tee-ee tee-ee, and resembled the fantail's whistling song. A violin-string might reproduce the tone if it could be muted sufficiently.
I was out several times to hear the morning chorus, which would begin at about 3 o'clock, whilst still quite dark, with the common call, repeated at intervals independently by two or more birds. After ten minutes or so a bird would begin the beating theme of (98), varied as in (98, b). In the latter the place of the rest was at times taken by a note, making the beating continuous. Others joined in, the sound being half bell, half flute; and though several birds sang, as could be heard owing to different birds dropping to E at different times, and also varying to B at different times, the result was quite harmonious. The common call continued to be uttered at intervals.
The harmony was fuller on the 2nd January, 1917, when the call was (92A) and (92B). The call sounded (A) (A), pause; (A) (A) (B), pause; (A) (B), pause; (B) never opening a call. When other birds joined in, the theme (98) began, but the notes were G, D. There were at least two birds singing the notes, as the D was at times accompanied by a tiu; and, whilst the notes of G were usually sounded together, at times there was an interval between as though one bird lagged a little. At the same time another bird sang C, in a thinner tone, more than an octave above the rich bell tones of the others. The effect was as in (99). The top singer was occasionally slightly out of time also. The theme was, on the 4th, varied as in (100). This was very beautiful, though apparently two birds only were singing, a third making a sort of bass accompaniment with an occasionally interjected tiu tiu. The fact that the higher singer was more than an octave above the lower was especially noticeable when the C was touched by both birds. Whilst a great number of birds may be singing at the one time, they would appear to segregate into small parties or choirs of from three to five, the song of each choir being in time and tune, whilst not always harmonizing with the others. With the whole bush full of singing birds, any segregation there may be would be lost. At dawn the small birds joined in the chorus: I heard whiteheads and fantails, whilst out above the flats sang an English skylark. Their songs did not harmonize with the rich notes of the larger birds, but the wild chorus resulting was most pleasing. It was impossible to say if the singers were tuis or bell-birds, or both; but the choruses are noted in this place as they began with tui calls, and the calls continued to be heard, at least for a time, during the singing of the chorus. One of the birds taking part, a tui, was seen in a karaka, though his attention seemed more devoted to the ripening berries than to the chorus. In (101) there were four or five birds singing, small birds again joining in towards the close. The parts of the principal singers, parts 1 and 2, were very regular and long-continued: 1 began, and, after a minute or two, 2 joined in, and these two continued for a quarter of an hour or more. A few minutes after 2 had joined 1, 3 joined in, singing irregularly and intermittently; still later and more intermittent was 4, almost a whisper-song. The call, as in 5, sounded occasionally. The chorus was, for the most part, quite harmonious and in perfect time:
occasional discords sounded, but they were not unmusical; the singers sang sharp or flat, or lost time, but soon recovered both tune and time. The two principal parts showed a great variety of themes: on the 10th and 15th January they were as in (102), and on the 13th as in (103)—a most beautiful theme. In this the upper notes sounded very high in pitch, especially when the high C was taken, yet they were quite musical. On the 16th, in a neighbouring valley, the chorus was carried on mostly in the high-pitched notes, sounding like tiny, light, resonant bells: the highest notes were almost “sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh,” but so softly uttered that, like the unharmonious upper partial tones, they gave character to the chorus rather than discord.
On Kapiti the bell-bird, like the tui, was very tame, singing and feeding close at hand. The notes of (24) appeared to be the call-notes. They were the ones most generally heard, and correspond to (1), (2), (7), (8), (10), (13), (14), (17), (17A), (22), and (23). They were very rapidly uttered—eight to ten semiquavers a second. They were clear whistles, excepting the closing note, which was more full and flute-like. This call was varied as in (24A) and (24B). A call somewhat similar, but more flute-like in tone, was (25), taking something over a second. On a day when a strong south-east wind was blowing, a bell-bird, hunting for insects in a ngaio, sang at intervals of two or three seconds a single note on D, (26), almost vocalized kahk. It sounded like the beat of a bell blown on the gale from the distant mainland. The slurs of (27) were cried by a bell-bird when swooping after a whitehead. The slur was repeated eight or more times in succession, three or four times a second. The high staccato note (28) was repeated by a young bird, the gape of its beak still white at the base. It was searching, first in a manuka, then in an Olearia Forsteri, constantly uttering this single sharp note. Three weeks later the note was F instead of A, and this young bird sat in the top branches of a manuka repeating it incessantly twice a second for minutes at a time. The old birds came one at a time at intervals to feed it. The cry would cease for a couple of seconds whilst the food was given, and then begin
again. An old bird approaching with food cried the notes of (29), repeated six times, about three slurs a second. It was vocalized dare dare. Somewhat akin to the call (24) is the phrase (30), sung in about two seconds, the concluding notes being again flute-like. The rapid notes of (31) and (32) are characteristic of the bell-bird: those of (31) are sharp whistles, uttered about ten a second; (32) and the variant (32A) are curious sharp slurs vocalized tiu, very quickly uttered, followed by a strange mellow
bell-like triplet vocalized hoo-ee-oo. The tiu is very commonly used by the bell-bird, but in (33) it is not apparently slurred, the whole phrase being a vocalized whistle, eight or ten semiquavers a second. The phrase (34), taking two seconds, was repeated many times in succession in an obscure ruinous vale, producing a strange, melancholy feeling. Like many bell-bird phrases, this is in perfect time.
The whisper-song of the bell-bird appears to be more definite than that of the tui. I took (35) to be one of the tui's bubbling whisper-songs until I actually saw a bell-bird singing a similar theme. It was sung very softly, with curious interjections separating the phrases, about five quavers a second. Often the tlank, or other interjection, only is heard, when it may be known that a whisper-song is in progress, and snatches may be heard on a nearer approach. Similar in character was (37), the phrases being again separated by one of the expletives so liked by the tui. These songs are sung for two or three minutes at a time, are more clear than the tui's, and appear more under the control of the bird. On the theme of (38) was built a long whisper-song, and this song is one of the best examples of art in bird-song that I have heard. It was perfectly regular in time, and each varied phrase was introduced by an expletive. The first part was many times repeated, at times as in the second part, and in several other forms. The notes were mellow, occasionally swelling to a bell sound. At a distance of 20ft. nothing could be heard but the kwak at regular intervals of about two seconds. When at half that distance the song was barely audible; yet, soft as it was, there was a perceptible swell and dying-away in intensity. The song was sung at dusk, and after continuing for two or three minutes stopped abruptly on my attempting to approach up the slope to hear more clearly. Another bird sat in sight close above me singing the short phrase of (39)—partly a whisper-song, the tlock being clear and bell-like. The song (40) suddenly came from close beside me, followed after a moment by the common call.
Noisy as the kaka usually is, the female has a crooning song at breeding-time—a soft, gentle song, quite different from the usual raucous cry. I saw several kaka at Kapiti, but they were quiet: the cry heard was kree-ah, as in (1), taking a little over a second, or kee-aw-w-w-w, as in (1A). the long aw being broken as if by momentary stoppages of the breath, The vocalization was somewhat similar to the cry of the kea, but the sound was fuller and broader. In a secluded valley I saw two kaka sitting on a branch, one a little below the other. The lower bird seemed coaxing the upper with a continual ke ke ke ke as in (2), repeated three notes a second, at intervals of two or three seconds, leaning up towards it, shivering its body and spreading it tail at each repetition. This went on for several minutes, when the upper bird, thitherto quite unconcerned and inattentive, seized the lower by the upper bill, apparently, and shook it. The shaking, however, would appear to be due to the act of regurgitation; the bird was feeding the young one, which waved its wings and sometimes “whined” a little during the shaking. The food was evidently passed into the mouth of the young bird at the end of each quivering. The process was gone through four or five times, the old bird running away each time, or flying to a short distance, and sitting apart for a minute or so. Both birds, when apart, scraped the sides of their beak on the branch, the young one also
opening and shutting its beak and working its throat as if swallowing, but never moving from its place. After a time the old bird flew off, and the young one seemed instinctively to know it was for good, as it shuffled of along the branch and was hidden in the foliage.
The chuckling cry (3), uttered when resting or during flight, was varied as in (6), six to eight semiquavers a second. The do be quick of (5), Banks Peninsula, in 1912, was pretty quick, on one note, at Kapiti, (7), and on one day the sound was distinctly pretty dick, the “d” uttered as by one slightly tongue-tied. Buller makes a good deal of a bird, kept on a railway-station, having been taught to say “Be quick”; but there is
little need for teaching, as this is the vocalization of some of the natural wild notes. None but red-fronted parrakeets were seen, though on one day an exceptionally large bird, bright green from a back view, and seeming nearly as large as a kaka, flew silently from me up a short glade; and as I passed the caretaker's house he remarked that he had seen two exceptionally large parrakeets. These would be the Antipodes Island birds liberated at Kapiti by Dr. Cockayne at the end of 1907, or progeny from them.
In only one pair of wekas could I detect any essential difference between the cry of the male and the female. In this pair the cries were as in (12): the female's was a little higher in pitch, was on one note, and
sounded shriller. When calling, the male stood erect, with bill and neck stretched upwards, the bill open as the cry pulsed up through the pipe. The deep mmb of the male often sounded at the same time as the call.