T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Kōkako (North Iasland) Callaeas wilsoni

Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum:     Chordata
Class:        Aves
Order:       Passeriformes
Family:      Callaeidae
Genus:      Callaeas
Species:    C. wilsoni 
Binomial name: Callaeas wilsoni 
Common name: (North Island kōkako, Blue-wattled crow, hokako, honga, onga, honge, onge, pakara, werewere.

Callaeas cinereus is an endangered large forest songbird bird which is endemic to New Zealand. It is slate-grey with wattles and a black mask. It is one of three species of New Zealand Wattlebird, the other two being the near threatened Tieke (saddleback) and the extinct Huia. Previously widespread, Kōkako populations throughout New Zealand have been decimated by the cutting down of there habit trees, the predations of mammalian invasive species such as possums, stoats, cats and rats and their range has contracted significantly. There are two sub-species of kōkako, North Island and South Island, although the South Island species may be extinct.

The North Island kōkako, Callaeas wilsoni has blue wattles (although this colour develops with age: in the young of this bird they are actually coloured a light pink). The South Island kōkako, Callaeas cinerea, by contrast has largely orange wattles, with only a small patch of blue at the base. 

Callaeas wilsoni is large songbird with a blue-grey body, a black mask, a long down-curved tail and blue wattles at base of the bill. It is not particularly good at flying and prefers to use its powerful legs to leap and run through the forest. The sexes are alike; juveniles have pink or lilac wattles. Callaeas wilsoni is in a few forests in the northern half of the North Island, particularly in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Te Urewera National Park. It has been successfully translocated to some offshore islands and mainland reserves.

For more information visit: http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/north-island-kokako

 Kōkako song 

The North Island kōkako (Callaeas wilson

 

North Island kōkako (front) and South Island kōkako (rear) Painting in W.L. Buller's  A History of the Birds of New Zealand. 2nd edition. Published 1888.
 


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