30th Birthday Dinner

Date posted: 06-Sep-2018

Please join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Suppo..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018

(https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-great-kokako-story-celebrating-21-years-..

Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KŌKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

North Island Kokako

Scientific name:

 Callaeas wilsoni

 

 

Conservation status

 Endemic, At risk - recovering

Mainland status:

 N.I only, mainly northern Urewera

Size:

 38cm, 230g

Lifespan:

 20+ Years

Breeding:

 October - December

Diet:

 Mainly foliage and fruit, some invertebrates

First introduced to Tiri:

 3 birds in 1997

Population on Tiri:

 Normally 20-30 birds

Total population:

 Around 2,000 in 2012


Kokako - photographer: Alex MitchellBelonging to the wattlebird family, an ancient group of birds, North Island kōkako have bright blue wattles at the base of the bill. Their plumage is mainly grey with a bluish tinge, they have long black legs, short rounded wings, a long tail, and a black facial mask. The juveniles are have pink wattles which slowly turn to lilac, then blue as they mature. The South Island sub-species, officially regarded as extinct, had orange wattles.

Because their wings are short relative to their body size, kōkako are poor fliers, preferring to move through the forest by bounding from tree to tree on their strong legs. They will fly short distances and often glide from the tree tops down to the lower branches or forest floor, but their wings are too weak for them to fly upwards.

They form life-long pairs and seldom stray from their permanent territories, preferring tall, mixed podocarp and hardwood forests with a high diversity of plant species. They feed on leaves all year round at all levels of the forest; they also eat fruits when available and invertebrates during summer and autumn, especially when feeding chicks. During the weeks prior to nesting, the male frequently feeds the female (see photo below).

The kōkako is notable for its haunting, mournful organ- or flute-like calls, often heard shortly after dawn. Other calls include a range of soft clucks and cat-like mewing notes.

Three kōkako (2 males and 1 female) were released on Tiritiri Matangi in 1997, followed by four more male birds in 1998. Of the original three birds, one male was predated immediately after release, but the remaining pair has lived in Wattle Valley for many years and raised over 20 chicks, most of which have been removed from the Island to other areas.

Detailed information about the kōkako on Tiritiri Matangi can be found here.

Click here to view a film (48 Mb) of Te Rae and Chatters feeding their chicks on their nest near the Kawerau Track in December 2013.

Click here to view a short film (90 Mb) of a pair of kōkako feeding their chicks in the Hunuas. 
 
And you can learn more about the North Island kōkako at New Zealand Birds Online.
  

Photography by: Alex Mitchell © (top right) and Kay Milton © (bottom left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking
.