The Pukeko has won Forest and Bird’s title of Bird of the Year.
It won 1480 votes in what ended up as a two-bird race with the kakapo, which gained 1068 votes.
Forest & Bird’s Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the pukeko is one of the best ambassadors for our wetlands.
“These swamp hens love feeding on the grubs and plants that can be found in our wetlands,” says Kevin Hackwell. . .
The pukeko is thought to have landed on our shores around a thousand years ago from Australia.
Broadcaster Damian Christie – a long-time pukeko supporter and former pukeko campaign manager – says it is a pioneering success story.
“It’s an immigrant that set off at great personal risk and without the aid of modern navigational devices to build a home here in Aotearoa. And it didn’t just survive, it thrived. I like to think there’s a little bit of pukeko in all of us.”
The emperor penguin – not traditionally seen as a New Zealand native but boosted by Happy Feet’s surprise visit earlier this year – polled 12th. . .
This is the seventh year Forest & Bird has run the popularity contest. Past winners include the tui, fantail, grey warbler, the kakapo, the kiwi and last year’s victor was the kakariki.
This year’s results were:
1. Pukeko (1480)
2. Kakapo (1068)
3. Hihi (756)
4. Kaka (562)
5. Tui (319)
6. Saddleback (304)
7. Ruru (Morepork) 291
8. Kea (209 )
9. Kokako (188)
10. Fantail (177)