Kiwi: Our national emblem is a 70 million year-old flightless bird that is considered the least bird-like bird in the world!
This fiercely territorial, nocturnal little scrapper (he has razor sharp claws that he uses freely to protect his territory) is the only bird in the world known to have nostrils at the end of his bill. This is to sniff for food including worms, grubs, insects and berries.
Our kiwi house has a pair of kiwi on display as well as Manukura, our rare white kiwi chick who has just moved in to the kiwi house so all our visitors may view her. She is acclimatising to her new day/night gradually. Check Manukura viewing times here to ensure you catch a glimpse. more >
Kokako: The melodious kokako has short rounded wings which they use to glide from treetop to forest floor. They love to bound from branch to branch and run along the ground on their long, strong legs.
They belong to the ancient wattlebird family (includes the saddleback and the, now extinct, huia).
They sing to each other to maintain pair bonds and maintain their territory. Bizarrely, birds from different locations have different songs. Even the pairs here at Pukaha Mount Bruce have developed their own dialect!
Kokako have been bred in captivity at Pukaha Mount Bruce since 1986. The captive-bred kokako are released into the forest here and at a number of other locations to help raise wild kokako numbers nationwide. More>
Kaka: These boisterous native parrots are so entertaining, they appear daily in our very own circus! They tumble, swoop, call and tease each other in complex games of tag.
Maori referred to these birds as ‘gossips’ because of the way they flocked together in the early mornings and late evenings to socialise.
The pioneering Kaka Conservation Programme is part of the species management work the Department of Conservation team at Pukaha Mount Bruce is responsible for.
Ten years ago nine juvenile kaka were released our forest – returning them to the area after a 50 year absence.
We now have that population up to 100 with the view to achieve a self-sustaining population of 600 birds in the wild. More>
Takahe: We are fortunate to have the takahe at Pukaha Mount Bruce. He arrived on our fair shores from Australia about 10,000 years ago with his cousin - the fascinating pukeko! They made that long journey and thrived in an environment with limited ground predators.
Once European settlers arrived however, it is a different story. The introduced predators (rats, stoats, possums) had an immediate and devastating impact on the population.
Fortunately, the story has a positive ending. Fifty years ago amateur ornithologist, Elwyn Welch was horrified at the dwindling number of the native takahe. He devised an amazing plan and trained bantam hens to foster takahe chicks.
This radical and inventive approach is being used in leading captive breeding sanctuaries throughout New Zealand and has had its hand in saving some of the rarest birds in the world. More>