Friday, June 28, 2013

Moley Birds!

I've been trading moley (moleskine) journals around for a wee while now, and have recently received my third. Another watercolour one, the theme for this one is "birds" and therefore, right up my alley.

Since I am a New Zealander, I feel obliged to draw New Zealand birds, and thus decided to start with two birds that are frequently confused with one another, despite the fact that they have very few traits in common.

Here we go:

 This is of course, the Weka (Gallirus australis) and the Kiwi (Brown - Apteryx australis).
Now, here are the things these two birds have in comon:
* They are both brown in colour
* They are both flightless
* They both live in native forest
* Both eat bugs and grubs and other invertebrates.
* They have strong, sturdy legs for walking.

And that is pretty much it.

Yet tourists will still caption photographs of wekas with "kiwi!" (although I cannot find any examples right now).

Here is how the two are different:
*Weka are rails, kiwi are ratites.
* Kiwi DO NOT have visible wings, their wings are greatly atrophied and little more than hooks underneath their feathers.
* Kiwi feathers are loose and soft, more like fur than feathers (and their body temperature is closer to a mammals). 
* Kiwi beaks are very long, a tool used to hunt about in the leaf litter for the aforementioned bugs and grubs. Their nostrils are also at the tip of their beak, not the base like all other birds.
* Weka are diurnal (mostly), kiwi are nocturnal (mostly).
* Weka are curious and sneaky.
* Kiwi are shy, but can be bolshy if disturbed (and make a right royal racket as they crash through the trees).
* There are birds that resemble a weka elsewhere in the world.
* The only bird that comes even close to resembling a kiwi is the snipe (extinct in mainland New Zealand).

Please ignore the fact that I have drawn a North Island weka in Fiordland. I forgot what subspecies it was when I added in the background.

I have another Double Page Spread to draw. Because I have started with flightless birds, I may as well continue with them, and will be drawing a kakapo and a penguin. And if you can get the two of those confused, then I suggest you get your eyes tested!

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