The calls of the kōkako cannot be compared with those of any other bird. Haunting and evocative, they are gently paced, wistful tunes, sung in rich flute-like tones. Males and females sing duets. Within a given area, birds have their own dialect, which tends to drive away those from outside. This poses a challenge when conservation workers plan to move birds to safer environments. Calls from the home territory are sometimes played through loudspeakers in the forest, to encourage transferred kōkako to stay in the area and form pair bonds with other birds.
Using this item
Department of Conservation
Photograph by Rogan Colbourne
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Sound file from Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision – Radio New Zealand collection. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision (New Zealand birds/Reference number T7700)