Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

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


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..

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.