Saturday, November 30, 2013

Back From The Dead?

A native New Zealand bird, declared extinct in 2007...may still be alive!
An apparent sighting of a South Island Kokako has been accepted by the NZ Ornithological Society's records appraisal committee, which monitors the status of rare and endangered birds.
Artist's impression of North (blue)
and South (orange) Island kokako
The sighting was made near Reefton, in the same year the bird was declared extinct. A total of 11 sightings of the Sth Island Kokako between 1990 and 2008 were submitted, but the committee considered the others to be "probable" or "possible" sightings.
An expert panel, convened to manage the Department of Conservation-run NZ Threat Classification System earlier this month, changed the Sth Island Kokako's classification from "extinct" to "data deficient" based on the 11 claimed sightings.
"We can't say that the Sth Island Kokako IS still alive. But this is the best sign yet that it is," Forest+Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell says. "Because of the re-classification, there needs to be more pest control work in the Sth Island than ever before. If the birds are still out there, they'll be only just hanging on, and their biggest threats will be rats, stoats and possums."
Before the Reefton sighting, the last accepted sighting of a Sth Island
North Island kokako:
photo Matt Binns
Kokako was in 1967.
The Sth Island Kokako is a dark bluish-grey wattlebird (about the size of a crow) with a long tail, short wings and orange wattles on its face. The endangered Nth Island Kokako has blue wattles. The bird is not particularly good at flying and prefers to use its powerful legs to leap and run through the forest.

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