One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large New Zealand honeyeater with glossy blackish plumage and two white tufts at the throat.
Prosthemadura novaeseelandiae, family MeliphagidaeAlso called parson-bird
- ‘Bell-birds and tuis - forest birds in the nectar-feeding family called honeyeaters - have brushlike tongues that enable them to lap up honeydew drops easily.’
- ‘Furthermore, when the bellbirds, tuis, kaka, and native insectivorous birds attempt to feed on native invertebrates, they again face competition from wasps, which devour spiders, caterpillars, ants, bees, and flies.’
- ‘First there's the tui, a grackle-size bird with blue-black and purple hues, filamentous white feathers woven through its nape and a white, tufty throat pompon worn like a bow tie.’
- ‘When a tui or a bellbird pops open a bud, all four petals spring back, and as the bird inserts its beak into the corolla to drink nectar, its head often brushes pollen onto the receptive stigma.’
- ‘In addition to the tui, another New Zealand species of honeyeater, known as the bellbird for its clear, bell-like call, commonly opens mistletoe flowers.’
Mid 19th century: from Maori.
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