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North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni

The kōkako make up two species of endangered forest birds which are endemic to New Zealand, the North Island kōkako (Callaeas wilsoni) and the presumably extinct (recently data deficient) South Island kōkako (Callaeas cinereus).

They are both slate-grey with wattles and have black masks. They belong to a genus containing five known species of New Zealand wattlebird, the other three being two species of tieke (saddleback) and the extinct huia.

Previously widespread, kōkako populations throughout New Zealand have been decimated by the predations of mammalian invasive species such as possums, stoats, cats and rats, and their range has contracted significantly. In the past this bird was called the New Zealand crow: it is not a crow at all, but it looks like one from a distance.

The spelling kokako (without a macron) is common in New Zealand English.

North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni
North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni
Range map from - Ornithological Portal is one of those MUST visit pages if you're in to bird watching. You can find just about everything there

The kōkako appears to be a remnant of an early expansion of passerines in New Zealand and is one of five species of New Zealand wattlebirds of the family Callaeidae, the others being 2 species of endangered tieke, or saddleback, and the extinct huia.

New Zealand wattlebirds have no close relatives apart from the Stitchbird, and their taxonomic relationships to other birds remain to be determined.

The North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni has blue wattles (although this colour develops with age: in the young of this bird they are actually coloured a light pink). The South Island kōkako, Callaeas cinereus, by contrast has largely orange wattles, with only a small patch of blue at the base.

Listen to the North Island kōkako
Dawn chorus

The kōkako has a beautiful, clear, organ-like song. Its call can carry for kilometres. Breeding pairs sing together in a bell-like duet for up to an hour in the early morning. Different populations in different parts of the North Island (if any populations of the South Island kōkako remain they are at present unknown) have distinctly different songs.

The kōkako is a poor flier and seldom flies more than 100 metres. The wings of this species are relatively short and rounded. It prefers to hop and leap from branch to branch on its powerful grey legs.

It does not fly so much as glide and when seen exhibiting this behaviour they will generally scramble up tall trees (frequently New Zealand podocarps such as rimu and matai) before gliding to others nearby. Its ecological niche is frequently compared to that of a flying squirrel. Its diet consists of leaves, fern fronds, flowers, fruit and invertebrates.

Kōkako and humans

In Māori and modern New Zealand culture
Māori myth refers to the kōkako in several stories. In one notable story, a kōkako gave Māui water as he fought the sun by filling its plump wattles with water and offering it to Māui to quench his thirst. Māui rewarded kōkako for its kindness by stretching its legs until they were lean, long and strong, so that kōkako could easily leap through the forest to find food.

The kōkako appears on the reverse side of the New Zealand $50 note

New Zealand 50$ bill with the North Island kōkako
Series 7 $5 and $10 banknotes were released in October 2015
and the remaining three denominations were released in May 2016.

New Zealand 50$ bill with the North Island kōkako
Series 6

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sighted: 25 October 2017 (Date of first photo that I could use)
Location: Tiritiri Matangi Island

North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni
North Island kōkako - Callaeas wilsoni - Tiritiri Matangi Island - 25 October 2017

North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni
North Island kōkako - Callaeas wilsoni - Tiritiri Matangi Island - 25 October 2017

North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni
North Island kōkako - Callaeas wilsoni - Tiritiri Matangi Island - 25 October 2017

Bird watching

Going bird watching on New Zealand? I have been to a few places but so far New Zealand is outstanding regarding information on the internet. There are two organizations that are sticking New Zealand flagout so far when it comes to information about birds and wildlife/ outdoor living.
Bird information, bird song and maps. Yes, there are excellent trekking maps online so you can plan, or go back after the trek to see where you have been, excellent. I have not been disappointed.

• New Zealand Birds Online

• New Zealand's Department of Conservation Click on “Nature” or just hoover with the mouse over the “Nature”

Many other places I have been to have excellent maps on site, but trying to find them online New Zealand Birds Onlinerendering nothing but disappointments. The New Zealand's Department of Conservation is the ONE STOP ONLY for everything regarding outdoor activities on New Zealand.

New Zealand Birds Online, there is everything you ever wish to know about the birds on New Zealand. Nothing less than fantastic. Click HERE to down load Checklist of the birds of NZ from New Zealand Birds Online web page

One of the best web pages I have ever seen when it comes to birding. All the information you can ever ask for and a ONE STOP for all your needs before going bird watching on New Zealand. Range maps, sounds, information and bird lists, everything you need.

New Zealand Birds Online

Bird watching

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