kokako-bigbird.pngAbout Kōkako

Why are kōkako special?
North Island kōkako (Callaeas cinerea wilsoni) are only found in New Zealand. We believe they are the most beautiful songster in the bush - lots of people agree!

Kōkako belong to an ancient family of birds which includes the tieke (saddleback) and the extinct huia.

Kōkako were once common in lowland forests throughout New Zealand. Now there are fewer than 1400 surviving in the North Island. The South Island sub-species of kōkako is believed to be extinct.

Why are kōkako endangered?
The main reason for kōkako decline numbers is predation by possums and ship rats. These animals attack females on the nest and destroy their eggs and chicks. The only way to ensure the survival of kōkako is to protect them from these predators during the nesting season so chicks can fledge.

What makes suitable habitat?
Kōkako are forest birds who require large standing trees for nesting. At Kaharoa, kōkako have shown a remarkable ability to survive in cutover native forest and are also known to nest in pine trees on the edges of the native bush.


Kōkako at a glance

 Appearance  Habitat  Food  Breeding
 Male and Female
 look alike
 Lowland forest
 North & South Islands

 leaves, fruit, nectar &   

 stable pairings

 Medium Large
 perching bird

     Female builds nest
 & incubates for 55 days
 Flies in short bursts      Lays 1-3 eggs
 October to March
 Fledge 30-35 days
 Glides up to 100m      Male feeds female while 
 on nest and both feed
 Runs and jumps from
 tree to tree on
 powerful legs