Fossils show that the South Island kōkako (Callaeas cinerea) was widespread in pre-human times. It was still common in many places until the 1870s, although disappearing fast. The last sighting was in Mount Aspiring National Park in 1967, and it was declared extinct by the Department of Conservation in 2004. Some people believe that the bird still survives; if so, it has eluded searchers for more than 50 years.
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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Artwork by Paul Martinson
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