Callaeas cinerea

Kokako; South Island Kokako
(Callaeas (cinerea) cinerea)

syn. Cryptorhina callaeas, Glaucopsis callaeas, Glaucopsis cinerea


New Zealand: South Island; Stewart Island

local name:

kokako - New Zealand

size: 38 cm (length)

extinction date: last confirmed sighting in 1961

The so called Wattled Birds are, according to oppinion, three to five, quite different appearing species, which on the other hand share several characteristics, e.g. the coloured wattles at the base of their beaks. The Wattled Birds are limited in their distribution to New Zealand, one genus is completely extinct, all others are very endangered.

The two forms of the Kokako, the blue-wattled from the North Island and the orange-wattled from the South Island are mostly regarded as one species. But both differ in their way of life.

The orange-wattled (sub-) species of the Kokako once lived in the dense rainforests of New Zealand's South Island but was also found on Stewart Island. It differed from the still living North Island Kokako (Callaes (cinerea) wilsoni) above all in the colour of its wattles. These wattles are blue in the North Island birds whereas they are blue and orange in the South Island birds.


South Island Kokako (Callaeas (cinerea) cinerea)

Photo: Alexander Lang


- Barrie D. Heather, Hugh A. Robertson, Derek J. Onley: Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Oxford University Press, USA, 1997