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Chatham Island tāiko – a bird a day

Chatham Island taaiko is also known as the magenta petrel

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. 
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The colour magenta
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An Italian corvette similar to the Magenta

​The tāiko is among New Zealand’s most endangered species. It’s considered to be on the brink of extinction, with about only 15 known breeding pairs.

The tāiko was believed to be extinct for almost a century, until its rediscovery by David Crockett in 1978. In 1987, the first tāiko burrow was found in southern Chatham Island.

Source:
NZ birds online

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Chatham Island taiko. Adult in flight at sea. 140 km south-west of Chatham Island, November 2014. Image © Fabio Olmos by Fabio Olmos
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Chatham Island taiko. Adult at burrow entrance. Tuku Nature Reserve, October 2006. Image © Graeme Taylor by Graeme Taylor
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Chatham Island taiko. Close view of adult head in daylight. Tuku Valley, Chatham Island, October 2011. Image © Mark Fraser by Mark Fraser
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Chatham Island taiko. Hand-held adult showing underwing during day. Tuku Valley, Chatham Island. Image © Department of Conservation (image ref: 10023982) by Graeme Taylor, Department of Conservation Courtesy of Department of Conservation
The reference photos in this particular NZ birds online article are really useful – lots of great, clear pictures of the head and wings. As usual, no good pictures of their wee feet, but I can figure them out. 
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Chatham Island taiko. Burrow entrance. Tuku Nature Reserve, Chatham Island, December 1993. Image © Department of Conservation (image ref: 10024118) by Alan Tennyson Courtesy of Department of Conservation
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Chatham Island taiko. Nearly fledged chick showing upperwing. Tuku Nature Reserve, April 2003. Image © Graeme Taylor by Graeme Taylor
I find it particularly interesting that these birds burrow. Check out this clip from the Chatham Island Taiko Trust Facebook page!

Time to draw

The reference photos are great, but there aren’t many to show how the birds actually move around. Most of the resources show the birds being handled, as with the clip below, or are from quite a long way away – so if I have made errors, I apologise.
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It’s a very strange beak situation
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Getting the hang of wings, anyway!
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Working on the details of the face
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Sketching out a foot
Now that I have completed my initial sketches, it’s time to choose the final lines.
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And, as usual, I use reference photos to set the colours. These birds are definitely not grey, though, so I have broken with tradition and used brown-grey tones to colour them in.
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I thought about standing them on rocks, but I can’t decide if I like that or not. The pose looks weird without rocks, though. I will revisit this when I build the final design, but I think no rocks is best for now.
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