I’ve been writing about birdsong today. And it reminded me about the South Island Kokako. A real life treasure hunt, or should I say bird hunt?
There’s a kokako that lives up north. It was doing pretty badly but, by developing breeding programmes in places like Tiritiri Matangi, it is recovering quite well. It has bright blue wattles which Maori thought were bags to could carry water. It also has a beautiful and melodious song.
In the South Island, the kokako had orange wattles, and it too had a melodious song and feathers of great beauty. I say ‘had’ because the last sighting of the S.Island kokako was in 1907. Officially extinct. HOWEVER – there have been reported sightings over the last few years, mostly in the forests of the west coast. There is even a reward for the first official, ratified sighting.
I love a good mystery, and I live in hope that South Island kokako once again grace our forests in my lifetime.
Read more about the South Island Kokako
Photo credit – Original image of NI kokako by Tara Swan, creative touches by Oscar Thomas and Geoff Reid