How the kiwi lost its wings

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Kiwis -

In Maori mythol­ogy, the kiwi’s an­ces­tor helped Tane Mahuta (Lord of the For­est) save the trees, which were be­ing eaten by bugs and be­gin­ning to sicken. All the birds were called to­gether and asked if one would come down from the for­est canopy to live on the for­est floor and help save the trees. Tui re­fused be­cause it was afraid of the dark­ness on the ground; Pukeko re­fused be­cause it found the for­est floor too damp and Pipi­wha­rau­roa, the shin­ing cuckoo, re­fused be­cause it was too busy build­ing its nest. But Kiwi agreed – it grew thick, strong legs to rip apart logs and it lost its coloured feathers and wings. Since then, Tui has worn two white feathers at its throat, the mark of a cow­ard; Pukeko has lived for­ever in a swamp, with wet feet; and Pipi­wha­rau­roa has never built another nest – in­stead it lays its eggs in other birds’ nests. Be­cause of Kiwi’s great sac­ri­fice, it has be­come the most-loved bird of all.

Sign of a cow­ard? Tui has a white throat tuft.

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