Kokako, native forest bird in New Zealand

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Kōkako or Kokako, endangered native forest bird in New Zealand, photographed on the island of Tiritiri Matangi. It’s one of the three species of wattlebirds in New Zealand, and is now endangered, due to predation by cats, stoats, possums, rats, mice, etc. It can’t fly very well, and uses its strong legs to hop from place to place through the forest. Only 400 pairs are known to exist of this subspecies, the North Island Kokako.

On arriving on the island of Tiritiri Matangi, where there’s around 16 of these birds in 220 hectares of regnerated forest. We were told "you’ll be lucky to see one". In fact, we saw six!

In Maori myth, it was the kokako that gave Maui water as he fought the sun. The kokako filled its wattles with water and brought it to Maui. His thirst quenched, Maui rewarded the kokako by making its legs long and slender, enabling the bird to bound through the forest with ease in search of food.

daev
Chief Bottle Washer at Blather

Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and “known troublemaker” Dave Walsh is the founder of Blather.net, described both as “possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River”, and “the nicest website circulating in Ireland”. Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.