More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

New hihi film

Date posted: 30-Jul-2016

A wonderful new film describing the hihi story on Tiritiri Matangi has now been added to the hih..

New Wildside video

Date posted: 29-Jul-2016

Click here ( to view a wo..

2016 Photo competetion winners

Date posted: 04-Jun-2016

This year's winning photographs have been decided. Click here (/photocomp2016) to see the wonder..

Great new ferry fares for Supporters

Date posted: 04-Jun-2016

Thanks to our ferry company, 360 Discovery (

Long Tailed Cuckoo

Scientific name:

 Eudynamys taitensis

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 Endemic, Naturally uncommon

Mainland status:

 Widespread, sparsely distributed

Size:  40cm, 125g






 Large invertebrates, lizards, birds, chicks, eggs, berries and fruit

Status on Tiritiri Matangi:  A few pass through each year

Long tailed cuckoo in tree - photographer: Ian SoutheyThis large cuckoo has rich brown upper parts which are barred black, and pale buff underparts and face boldly streaked brown and black. The tail is as long as the body. The call is a repeated loud, harsh, hissing, long drawn-out shriek 'zzwheesht' with a rising inflection; also a loud, rapid chatter.

The diet is mainly large invertebrates such as wētā, stick insects, spiders, beetles and bugs. Skinks, geckos, small birds, eggs, chicks, berries and fruit are also eaten.

Most long-tailed cuckoos over winter in the tropical Pacific and return to New Zealand in early October to breed in the same area year after year. A single creamy-white or very pale pink egg with brownish blotches is laid in the nest of either a whitehead (NI) or a yellowhead or brown creeper (SI). The egg is larger than the host’s eggs, and when it hatches the chick evicts the host's eggs and/or chicks and remains the sole occupant of the nest. The chick is fed in the nest by its foster-parents and their helpers for about 21 days. After fledging it continues to be fed by its foster family for at least four weeks.

The long-tailed cuckoo in New Zealand has probably declined in line with the decline of the host species (especially yellowhead in the SI) and the clearance of subtropical rainforest in parts of their wintering range.

Long tailed cuckoo on rock - photographer: Ian SoutheyAlthough long-tailed cuckoos are occasionally seen on Tiritiri Matangi each summer, they appear to be just passing through as there is no evidence of them breeding on the Island.

Learn more about the long-tailed cuckoo at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Ian Southey ©

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