Oh dear, there are multiple species called "toroa" on this list, and I didn't realise. Ok, let's make sure that we get the differences between them really clear!
Current thinking divides the albatrosses into four genera. The number of species is a matter of debate. The IUCN and BirdLife International recognise 22 extant species (listed below), ITIS recognise 21 (the 22 below minus T. steadi), and one recent paper proposed a reduction to 13 (indicated in parentheses below), comprising the traditional 14 species minus D. amsterdamensis.
We have already covered the Antipodean albatross, aka toroa.
Today, we are looking at the Gibson's wandering albatross/toroa, and we still also have to cover the Salvin’s albatross or mollymawk/toroa, too.
Based on the species information from NZ birds online article about the Antipodean albatross, pictured above, the Gibson's albatross is actually a subspecies - and I have already drawn two birds with Gibson's markings.
DOC also lumps them together in their article - and given that we have so many birds to cover, we are going to call this one done (because it is!) and move on to the next.
My first thought was: "Magenta petrel" sounds amazing... but the bird is not at all pink or red...
"At sea, one bird was taken as a specimen in 1867 and named the Magenta petrel after the Italian expedition’s ship" - oh.
Today has been a busy day, with errands and earrings taking up most of the daylight. As I finally settle down to draw, El Huzbando is already making our dinner!
Shags have a very distinct silhouette, and, with their amusing name, became one of the only non-forest birds that I could recognise easily - but there are so many species!
The watercolour image below shows the importance of tiny details in making sure each species is correctly represented.
Every day, another bird
It's sometimes hard to get started on a drawing. Generally, I just let myself choose another task, and come back to the drawing when the mood takes me - but I have committed to a bird every weekday, so here we go - my first attempt at overcoming "drawer's block".
Not that long ago, I found out that black-billed gulls were actually endangered. I hadn't ever really looked at the seagulls at the beach except to protect whatever I was trying to eat*, or avoid being pooed on, as happened on a recent walk along Petone foreshore.
*Never feed gulls any food or scraps – some of our food is harmful to them.
Kakii, or black stilt, is a native wading bird only found in New Zealand. It is regarded by Maaori as a taonga species, a living treasure.
Once the common stilt of New Zealand, the black stilt is now critically endangered with a breeding population confined to the Mackenzie Basin of South Canterbury and North Otago. Adults are distinctive in having entirely black plumage, long red legs and a thin black bill, but juveniles and subadults can easily be overlooked amongst pied stilts, while hybrids add to the plumage confusion. Black stilts frequent the wide open braided rivers and associated wetlands of the Mackenzie Basin. There they favour shallow waters of invertebrate-rich sidestreams and pools, wading out into deep water if necessary. Some birds migrate to northern New Zealand harbours.
NZ birds online
The kakaruia - a tiny birb
Robins in general are tiny creatures, straining at the seams to encompass enormous personalities. From what I can tell, the Chatham Islands black robin is no different.
The endangered matuku inhabits wetlands throughout New Zealand. DOC is focusing on developing methods for surveying bittern systematically and for restoring wetlands.
Bitterns are extremely cryptic and rarely seen. This is due to their secretive behaviour, inconspicuous plumage and the inaccessibility of their habitat. Their presence is most commonly discerned through hearing the distinctive 'booming' call of the males during the breeding season. Bittern occasionally show themselves in the open along wetland edges, dykes, drains, flooded paddocks or roadsides, often adopting their infamous 'freeze' stance, with the bill pointing skyward, even when caught out in the open.
NZ birds online
âRead more about the matuku and its importance, both ecologically and culturally, here and here.
A bird a day
As I discussed in my introduction post for "a bird a day", I am leaning heavily on online resources to draw these very rare and endangered birds.
We have some fantastic websites available to help us understand more about our wildlife here in Aotearoa - please take the time to read about these birds in more detail at the links provided!
Antipodean wandering albatross/toroa
The Antipodean albatross is a large albatross that varies in colour from black-and-white to chocolate brown depending on sex, age and race. They breed almost exclusively on the Auckland and Antipodes Islands and forage over the continental shelf edge and deep water from south of West Australia to the coast of Chile, but are most common in the Tasman Sea and over the Chatham Rise east of New Zealand. Since 2003 a few pairs have started breeding on the Chatham Islands.
Antipodean albatrosses are closely related to the wandering, Tristan and Amsterdam albatrosses, and more distantly related to the northern and southern royal albatrosses.
NZ birds online
A garden full of inspiration
As you may have noticed, we have a garden absolutely FULL of plants, both native and introduced.
I grew up in a very plant-focused family, and acquired a great deal of knowledge by osmosis, even thought actual gardening has never really been my scene (mainly because of allergies).
âOur visit to Portland a year ago, and my increasing interest in reducing my impact on the planet by living more sustainably, really re-fired my interest in growing my own food.
I started by drawing a lot of our thriving herb garden here: