Story: Pacific migrations

Long-tailed cuckoo with grey warbler

Long-tailed cuckoo with grey warbler

The long-tailed cuckoo (its young being fed here by a grey warbler) winters over in the Pacific Islands and flies south in spring. Polynesians would have noted the seasonal arrival and departure of the bird and realised it was heading towards land somewhere. This may have fuelled speculation about undiscovered islands in the vast Pacific Ocean.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0012-14
Hand-coloured lithograph by John Gerrard Keulemans

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Geoff Irwin, 'Pacific migrations - East to the empty Pacific', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 September 2023)

Story by Geoff Irwin, published 8 Feb 2005, reviewed & revised 8 Feb 2017