The conclusion of the bird a day challenge
So we have worked our way through the 23 most endangered species of native birds in New Zealand, and, as I discussed initially, I will then turn them into a 24-bird design, to echo the concept of an advent calendar - but here, we are documenting the advent of their extinction.
A bird a day #24 - winner of Bird of the Year 2019
Choosing a 24th bird ended up being easy - I was concerned for a while that the winner might be a bird that I had already drawn, and I had no desire to start on the next section of the DOC list, as that would pretty much force me to keep going until I had finished them all. And birds are great, but I need a break.
Luckily for me, the winner of the 2019 Bird of the Year competition is the Hoiho (Yellow-eyed penguin). I haven't drawn a penguin yet, so that's an added bonus.
One really important thing to mention is that, even though the Hoiho are not actually in any of the three lists on the DOC endangered species page, that's actually an indicator of how very endangered the listed species are - because with a conservation status of "in serious trouble", Yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho) are disappearing before our eyes. They are one of the rarest penguins in the world with just 1,700 pairs remaining.
If nothing is done to reverse current declines, scientists predict they could be extinct on mainland New Zealand within 10 - 20 years.
Bird of the Year
A tall, portly penguin with a pale yellow band of feathers that runs from each yellow eye around the nape, a long straight red-brown and pale cream bill, and pink and black feet. The rest of the head, neck and dorsal surface is slate blue; the breast and belly white down to the feet.
NZ Birds online
Drawing the hoiho
Very fast sketches of the underlying structure.
This chonky boi Hoiho is channeling Lizzo - all attitude and rocking that thicc body. Love it.
The Hoiho has a lot of its own colours - more than expected when you just look at it. The beak and the eyes are actually quite complex. I have, of course, simplified the lines and the colours to fit my style.
And that's the lot! 24 birds, in slightly more than 24 business days. What a ride! What was your favourite?
Over the last few weeks, I have drawn a whopping 23 birds, drawing one (almost) every weekday.
Here is a summary of all of those birds - click on the links below to visit the relevant blog posts.
The kōtuku is common in Australia, the South Pacific and Asia.
In New Zealand it only breeds near Whataroa, South Westland, between September and January. This colony is in the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve and guided jet boat tours take visitors to view the birds from an observation hide.
The white heron or kotuku is well-loved by the New Zealand people, but it is rarely seen except by those who specifically seek it out. Its sole New Zealand breeding site near Okarito Lagoon in Westland is well-known and well-protected, but elsewhere it is 'He kotuku rerenga tahi' or the bird of single flight, implying something seen perhaps once in a lifetime. When seen in close proximity it is a magnificent bird, with its large size and clean white plumage.
NZ birds online
Where will you see the NZ dotterel?
The New Zealand dotterel is a familiar bird of sandy east coast beaches in the northern North Island, but is sparsely distributed around much of the rest of the country. There are two widely separated subspecies: the northern New Zealand dotterel is more numerous, and breeds around the North Island; the southern New Zealand dotterel was formerly widespread in the South Island, and now breeds only on Stewart Island. Southern New Zealand dotterels are larger, heavier, and darker than northern New Zealand dotterels.
NZ birds online
A unique NZ species - Whenua Hou diving petrel
While both DOC and NZ birds online refer to the South Georgian diving petrel, Wikipedia differentiates between the South Georgian species and a new species, the Whenua Hou diving petrel.
Where can we find them?
The former range of shore plover is poorly known. They were first sighted in Dusky and Queen Charlotte Sounds on Cook’s second voyage, and at mudflats and sandspits around the North Island in the early 1800s.
By the 1870s. cats and Norways rats caused the shore plover to vanish from mainland coasts.
For more than 100 years, Rangatira in the Chatham Islands had the only known population of around 120 birds. The current (2017) wild population is around 240 birds, more than half of which are in the Chatham Islands.
Today, Auckland’s Motutapu Island is the easiest place to see shore plover.
They are also found on Rangatira and Mangere Islands in the Chatham Islands, and Waikawa Island in Hawke’s Bay – all of which have restricted access.
The Salvin's mollymawk
I have already drawn two other birds referred to as "toroa" in this series. So, how do we differentiate between them?
Albatross or mollymawk?
My first - and only - alpine native bird
Rock wren are our only true alpine bird. It is unknown how they survive the harsh climate above the tree line all year round, but it is likely they continue to forage on rocky bluffs where snow has not collected and amongst large boulder fields. Some have suggested they may have a period of semi-hibernation.
Back to the Chatham Islands
Pitt Island is the second largest island in the Chatham Archipelago, New Zealand. It is called Rangiauria in Māori and Rangiaotea in Moriori.
At first glance, the Pacific white tern looks a great deal like the New Zealand fairy tern or tara iti, so the first step is to establish the differences between them.