Story: Large forest birds

North Island kōkako

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
Reference: 10029845
Photograph by Rogan Colbourne

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

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)

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Large forest birds - Kōkako', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 11 December 2023)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015, updated 1 Aug 2023