2020 Photo competition now open

Date posted: 15-Jan-2020

This year's photo competition is now open for entries. Please click here (/m..

AGM 2019

Date posted: 09-Sep-2019

Our Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30 pm on Monday 23rd September at the F..

More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

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.