New Zealand books at their best

whose beak is this

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Notes for children, parents and educators


guide to pronunciation

Whio-beakThe birds in Whose Beak is This? sometimes have two names one in Maori and one in English. Although for some birds, like the tui, the Maori name is the only common name. Some of the Maori names might be less familiar to some readers, but a guide to pronunciation can be found on the Maori Language Commission website:


more about birds and their beaks

Kaka-beakAll the birds in Whose Beak is This? are native to New Zealand. Three websites that provide information in a clear and informative format about New Zealand birds are:

Many New Zealand birds are also included in the explore and discoverseries of books for children by author Gillian Candler:



suggestions for activities

Here are some fun and educational activities to accompany reading Whose Beak is This?

Links to examples of these and other activities can be found on Pinterest:

  • Children can try out what it is like to eat different foods with different ‘beaks’. For example, have different types of food in front of the children along with some different tools such as tongs, chopsticks, toothpicks – which tool works best for which food?
  • Make a mask with a prominent bird beak.
  • Make an origami bird beak.
  • Design a bird with a beak that would be able to eat their favourite food, e.g. an ice-cream eating bird.
  • Pukeko-beakFind out what garden birds like to eat and create a bird feeder to feed them. Landcare Research has advice on feeding birds:
Gillian-Candler-author-pggillian candler – author

As I did research for the books in the ‘explore and discover series’ I got more and more interested in birds and their beaks. Birds’ beaks are such an important adaptation for getting food. On my walks around the region where I live, I’ve watched spoonbills sieving through water and oyster catchers probing for shellfish. From my desk I can watch tui at the flax bush, getting pollen on their heads every time they stick their beaks in after the nectar. I’ve also been very lucky to see kiwi in the wild. I even had a kiwi poke my shoe with its beak, presumably it was using its nostrils to smell and figure out what strange thing was standing in the middle of the track. As you can imagine it ran away as soon as it realised I was not a tree.

You can read more about my experiences on my blog


Fraser-Williamsonfraser williamson – illustrator

Fraser Williamson is an internationally recognised artist/illustrator whose work ranges from large illustrative paintings to quirky children’s books that try to amuse and entertain. Fraser wishes to portray characters and environments that allow for imagination and diversity. His work has featured in magazines, books and ad campaigns, both nationally and internationally, and he regularly exhibits his paintings at the Flagstaff Gallery in Devonport, many of which now adorn walls in Auckland, Melbourne, Finland, Malta and London.

If you want to see some of my other pictures you can visit my site: