25 Jan 2024

Potential sighting of thought-extinct kokako in Southland

From Nights, 9:58 pm on 25 January 2024

"Large grey bird flew over top making a distinct sound - I can't remember the exact sound, but it was high pitched almost chime like if that makes sense. Definitely a distinct sound compared to the usual birds around. It seemed to almost glide across the clearing. It had a longish tail, that stood out, probably the length of a wing if not slightly longer."

This sighting, from a hunter on New Year's Day in Rowallan Forest in Southland, has given conservationists a glimmer of hope that the thought-extinct South Island kōkako may still be alive somewhere down south, and now they are asking for civilians' help in following up the lead.

Manager of the South Island Kokako Charitable Trust Inger Perkins speaks to Emile Donovan.

How the South Island Kokako may look

How the South Island Kokako may look Photo: South Island kokakoCharitable Trust. Original image of Nth Island Kokako by Tara Swan. Creative touches by Oscar Thomas and Geoff Reid.