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Published on Jun 11, 2018
The beautiful, haunting call of the rare North Island Kōkako.
The North Island kōkako is an endangered forest bird which is endemic to the North Island of New Zealand. It is grey in colour, with a small black mask. It has blue wattles (although this colour develops with age: in the young of this bird they are actually coloured a light pink). Because of its wattle, the bird is sometimes locally called the blue-wattled crow, although it is not a corvid.
Māori myth refers to the kōkako in several stories. In one notable story, a kōkako gave Māui water as he fought the sun by filling its plump wattles with water and offering it to Māui to quench his thirst. Māui rewarded kōkako for its kindness by stretching its legs until they were lean, long and strong, so that kōkako could easily leap through the forest to find food.
The kōkako appears on the reverse side of New Zealand's $50 note.
Also called the blue-wattled crow, kōkako, hokako, honga, onga, honge, onge, pakara, werewere and Callaeas wilsoni.
Sound recording by Aliscia Young & Richard Sidey of Galaxiid.