Pukeko Bird of Year

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)

4 Responses to Pukeko Bird of Year

  1. I am very disappointed by the Kea’s performance but I think they will recover from this result, I gather they are already in talks with the Kaka’s on the sensible grounds that the voting public in general can’t tell them apart.

    I read the press release from the Kiwi’s and agreed this years contest was little more than an “aviarian beauty contest “


  2. Johnboy says:

    I can remember sitting on ridge glassing a cirque up above Lake Rotoiti for Chamois many years ago when a Kea landed next to me and kept me entertained for over an hour.

    I’m not sure if it was just convivial or was trying to work out if I was going to be it’s next meal if I dropped dead.

    A magical moment I will never forget.


  3. Gravedodger says:

    Had a farm at Waipara, yes before the advent of the vinyards and the Pukekos would travel along a drill line and scratch out the seed leaving to all intents and purposes a rather embarrassing look when the crop came up.
    They would also keep moving into the uncut hay crop leading to a higher degree of caution as the uncut plot diminished. Occasionally a legless pukeko. Problem reduced with the advent of mower crushers as the result was equally disastrous for the bird but less trauma for the operator.
    Knowing they came from Australia does make their behavour more understandable.
    Very caring birds though, on our schoolbus run across the Lyndon Swamp mid last century when a birds luck ran out leaving a dead carcass, when returning minutes later other birds would be attempting a “rescue” by dragging the body from the road.


  4. So what your saying Gravedodger is a bunch of tree huggers voted an Australian into the number one spot. That must be unprecedented.


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