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..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

Shining Cuckoo

Scientific name:

 Chrysococcyx lucidus lucidus

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 Native. Not threatened

Mainland status:



 16cm, 25g




 Mid October - Mid January


 Invertebrates, especially caterpillars


Shining cuckoo in song - photography by: Dr Kerry RodgersThe shining cuckoo is metallic bronze green, barred dark green on a white face and underparts and has a short tail.

The song is a distinctive series of high-pitched upward-slurring whistles: ‘coo-ee’….followed by one or two downward-slurring notes ‘tsee-ew’.

The diet is mainly invertebrates, especially the small green caterpillars that feed on kowhai leaves and the black hairy caterpillars of the Magpie Moth.

Most shining cuckoos over-winter in the Solomon Islands and the Bismark Archipelago, returning to New Zealand in September.

From mid-October the shining cuckoo lays a single egg in the nest of its host species, usually a grey warbler. The egg is larger than the grey warbler's eggs and is olive green (the grey warbler's eggs are paler, often almost white, and sometimes speckled).  It hatches at approximately 15 days and, when a few days old, the cuckoo chick evicts the grey warbler eggs or chicks. The chick fledges at about 19 days and continues to be fed by both grey warbler foster parents for at least 4 weeks.

Shining Cuckoo - photographer: Dr Kerry Rodgers
Shining cuckoos are heard, and often seen, on Tiritiri Matangi every year, though it is not clear whether they breed on the Island or simply pass through. Breeding is possible, as there are resident grey warblers, though these are not as common on the Island as many other birds.

Learn more about the shining cuckoo at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by: Dr Kerry Rodgers © Right - shining cuckoo in song.  Left - shining cuckoo taking to flight

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