Saturday, March 31, 2012

Birds of New Zealand

New Zealand birds are confusing!  Both the Maori and Western names are commonly used, so you typically have to learn two common names for every species.  Not to mention knowing the scientific names if you have to write a paper about them.  Furthermore the Maori names all sound the same to me!  Don't get me wrong, it is pretty impressive that the New Zealand people still commonly use the Maori names (because we all know that the first people to exploit a species should traditionally have the honor of naming them), but I do wish that most of the bird names didn't start with the letter "K". 

Case in point - the birds featured in this illustration are the: Kakapo, Kakarikis, Kokako, Kaka, Kaki, Kiwi, Kea, Karearea, and Kereru.  Try saying that three times fast!

I've been joking for a while that I should make an ABC's of native New Zealand birds.  The book would consist of one blank page labeled A-J, then an overpopulated K page, and finally another blank page labeled L-Z.  "New Zealand birding made easy!" 

PS.  There are even more K birds that I didn't include in this illustration: Kotare (Kingfisher), Kotuku (White Heron), Korora (Little Blue Penguin), and Korimako (Bellbird).  Just to name a few!


  1. Oh my gosh, that's hilarious about the letter K. Such a great illustration. I like how they're all leaning in to get their faces in the shot. It looks like paper cutouts or maybe that's just a cool effect you achieved?

    1. Did you try to read out the list of K birds? It's insane how confusing it is.

      The paper cutout effect is digital. It's all textures and drop shadows. I've done a few of them by hand, but I injure myself less when I do them digitally.