New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Details of the Tiritiri Kokako 


Photograph of Te Hari (left) and Phantom by Kay Milton ©

Where they came from

The original founders of Tiritiri’s kokako population were four brothers and one female from the Mapara region of Waikato. Two of the brothers (Te Koha Waiata and Te Hari) and the female (Cloudsley Shovell) still live on the Island, as do some of their descendents, though others have been translocated elsewhere.

Tiritiri holds all the remaining kokako descended from birds of the Taranaki region. Three of the remaining wild Taranaki birds were taken into captivity at Mount Bruce in the late 1990s. One Taranaki male was successfully paired with a Waikato female called Mapara. Three of their offspring, Te Rae (F), Pukaha (F) and Parininihi (M) were transferred to Tiritiri in 2007.  Their father also raised a chick with another captive-bred female at Mount Bruce. This chick was Poutama, who was transferred to Tiritiri in 2008. Te Rae, Parininihi and Poutama are still (in 2014) living on Tiritiri, though Pukaha probably died in late 2010.

The other area from which kokako have been brought to Tiritiri is the Waipapa region of Waikato, which includes Pureora Forest. Two birds, Waipapa and Mawhero (both F) arrived in 2007, two more – Crown (M) and Pureora (F) – in 2008, and three more – Tawa, Rimu and Slingshot (all M) – in 2010.

A note on Colour Bands

Colour bands are read from top to bottom, left leg (the bird’s left leg) first, then right.  For example, a bird with orange over metal on the left leg and red over green on the right leg would be recorded as OM-RG.

Many of our visitors are able to get good views of kokako, but very few manage the more difficult trick of recording the band combinations. While all sightings are helpful, those accompanied by the colour bands are much more useful. One excellent technique is to quickly take a number of photographs when you spot a bird – even if the shots are out of focus, it is often possible to determine the colour of the bands.

The kokako team tend to know the whereabouts of birds involved in breeding pairs, but non-breeding birds are much more elusive and some remain unrecorded for many months. Records of breeding birds outside of their normal territories, or of non-breeding birds, are particularly welcome.

The letter codes are as follows:

M is the metal band; all birds have one metal band with a unique identification number.

B is blue                                     R is red

G is (mid-) green                        W is white

J is jade (pale green)                   Y is yellow.

O is orange

The 2011-12 season

Established pairs

Te Koha Waiata, male, Y-RM and Cloudsley Shovell, female, M-O

Te Koha Waiata is a founder male who was born in captivity at Mount Bruce in November 1996 and brought to Tiritiri in August 1997.  Cloudsley was captured in the Waikato region and brought to Tiritiri at the same time as Te Koha Waiata. They have been together since their arrival and hold a territory in Wattle Valley.

Between them they have raised 22 chicks (including one, Miharo, male, JM-R in 2011/12).  Because of their comparative success on Tiritiri, their offspring are over-represented in the Island’s population.  Any further offspring they raise would be candidates for translocation off the Island. Their descendants still on the Island in 2011/12 are Phantom, Koha, Noel, Rehu, Aria, Takara, Bariki and Miharo, and (probably) Chatters, Kikorangi and Lucky.

Te Hari, male, YM-W and Phantom, female, BW-M

Te Hari is a brother of Te Koha Waiata.  He was hatched in captivity in November 1997 and transferred to Tiritiri in March 1998. Phantom is the daughter of Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley and was born in the 2008/9 summer. They formed a partnership in 2010/11 and had two unsuccessful nests before producing a single chick, Aria, from the third.  In 2011/12 they again produced a chick, Sarang, male, W-JM. Their territory is centred on bush 2, but they have also been seen in bush 21 and bush 1.

Chatters, male, RG-M and Te Rae, female, OM-JO

Chatters was born in January 2007 and, although his parentage is not certain, he is closely related to the founder males. His parents are believed to be either Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley or Te Hari and Shazbot (daughter of Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley). Te Rae was born in Mount Bruce in January 2006 and released on Tiritiri in June 2007. One of her parents was a wild-caught bird from Taranaki. This pair occupies a territory around the Kawerau Track and has previously bred successfully.  They had two chicks in 2010/11 but the nest was predated and only one chick, Lucky, escaped, probably by jumping from the nest at the time of the attack. Their other surviving chicks are Kikorangi and Rehu. In 2011/12, Te Rae disappeared for about two months before re-joining Chatters in February. We believe she spent that time with Takara, a young single male whose territory is nearby. It will be interesting to see whether she repeats this pattern next year or stays with her long-term partner Chatters.

Parininihi, male, OM-Y and Koha, female, BM-R

Parininihi is a brother of Te Rae and so is also a Taranaki lineage bird. Koha is the daughter of Te Karanga (a brother of Te Koha Waiata) and Keisha (both her parents were offspring of Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley). Parininihi and Koha formed a partnership in 2010/11 and had two failed nests. In 2011/12 they again had two failed nests. Their territory occupies most of bush 3 and part or all of bush 4.

Noel, male, OM-R and Rehu, female, OM-J

Noel is the son of Pukaha (a Taranaki female) and Moby (grandson on both sides of Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley) and was born in the 2008/9 season. Rehu is the daughter of Te Rae (also a Taranaki female and a sibling of Pukaha) and Chatters, and was born in December 2009. Chatters is the son of Te Koha Waiata or Te Hari. This is a relatively new pairing formed in the 2010/11 season when they made two unsuccessful nesting attempts. In 2011/12 they produced one male chick, Flieder, RM-W. Their territory includes the lower end of the Wharf Road, around the short cut and the wharf dam, and includes parts of bush 6 and bush 5.

Crown, male, GM-G and Pureora, female, GM-R

Crown and his partner Pureora are Waipapa birds, caught in the wild and transferred to Tiritiri in August 2008. They hold a territory in bush 22 in the north-east of the Island. They built their first nest in the 2009/10 season, but it was unsuccessful. No nest was found in 2010/11 or 2011/12.

Kikorangi, male, OM-G and Mawhero, female, GM-W

Kikorangi is the son of Te Rae and Chatters and so has some Taranaki genes. Mawhero was caught in the wild in the Waipapa region in October 2007. This partnership was formed in the 2010/11 season. They built a nest in bush north of the Fisherman's Bay Track but didn’t appear to use it. In 2011/12 they again had a nest in this area but did not produce offspring.

Single birds in 2011/12

Poutama, male, OM-W

Poutama was born in 2001 in captivity at Mount Bruce and is the half-brother of Te Rae and Parininihi. He was released on Tiritiri in 2008. Poutama is occasionally sighted in the company of female kokako, but has never held on to a potential mate. Until 2010-11 he held a territory in bush 22, but appears to have been displaced by Takara. Since then, Poutama has been seen in many parts of the Island, including back in bush 22 and in neighbouring bush 21.

Waipapa, female, GM-Y

Waipapa was caught in the wild with Mawhero in October 2007. So far she hasn’t found a mate. Waipapa keeps a fairly low profile and is sighted much less frequently than the birds involved in breeding partnerships.

Bariki, male, OM-RJ

Bariki is the son of Pukaha and Moby and was born in December 2009. Pukaha was a Taranaki bird and Moby is descended from Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley. Bariki doesn’t yet have a mate. He spent most of the 2010-11 season in bush 21, but in 2011/12 appears to have taken over part of Parininihi and Koha’s territory in bush 3.

Takara, male, OM-YB

Takara is the brother of Bariki and so is also a Taranaki bird. He has taken occupation of the northern side of bush 22, possibly displacing Poutama, and may also be disturbing Crown and Pureora who tend to be found on the southern side of the bush. In 2011/12 we believe he spent some time with Te Rae, but is now on his own again.

Slingshot, male, GM-WR, Rimu, male, GM- and Tawa, male, GM-J

Slingshot, Rimu and Tawa were caught in the wild in Pureora Forest in October 2010. Rimu and Tawa have been seen only occasionally, but Slingshot has been seen more often and his characteristic call is heard around Ridge Road and the top of bush 5.

Aria, female, JM-Y

Aria was born in the 2010/11 season, her parents are Te Hari and Phantom. Early in the 2011/12 season she has been seen with Lucky in Little Wattle Valley and along the Wharf Road, and behind the bunkhouse.

Lucky, sex unknown, not banded

Lucky was born in the 2010/11season, her/his parents are Te Rae and Chatters, so s/he is part of our Taranaki lineage. The name Lucky was chosen after the two chicks in the nest disappeared before they were old enough to fledge. Lucky was later found on the ground near the nest and was obviously being fed by her/his parents. Shortly afterwards, s/he was seen high in the tree tops and was roaming around independently by the end of the 2010-11 season. Lucky was seen with Aria early in the 2011/12 season, but more recently has been seen on her/his own.

The 2012/13 season

The most significant event this year was a successful egg-swap between Tiritiri and the Hunua Ranges Regional Park. This is an excellent way of getting new blood into the Tiritiri population without putting the birds through the stress of a translocation. 

The seven established pairs listed for 2011/12 remained together throughout the 2012/13 season, and two new partnerships formed, giving us nine pairs - the most we've ever had. 

Bariki (male, OM-RJ) formed a partnership with Lucky (female, unbanded). The first confirmation we had that Lucky is female was when she built a nest and laid eggs. Their territory is in the lower part of bush 3, where Bariki established himself last year. Lucky was the first kokako this season to build a nest and their chick Puoho (male, RM-Y) was the first to hatch and fledge. While Puoho was still being fed, mainly by Bariki, Lucky built a second nest, which produced another chick. Sadly, this one died of malnutrition in February 2013, because its parents were unable to find enough high-protein food for it in the extremely dry conditions.

The second new pair this year is Takara (male, OM-YB) and Aria (female, JM-Y). Their territory is on the north side of bush 22 and bush 23. Aria built two nests but abandoned the first before the eggs hatched, even though all three of them were fertile. She then built again and laid a second clutch, but the eggs were predated, probably by a harrier.

The fortunes of the other seven pairs in 2012/13 were as follows:

Te Koha Waiata (Y-RM) and Cloudsley Shovell (M-O): Cloudsley surprised us by re-using her nest from 2011-12. She laid three eggs, but none were fertile. Knowing that Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley are usually diligent parents, we gave them an egg from the Hunuas in the hope that they would raise a foster chick. However, Cloudsley abandoned the nest before this egg hatched. She then built another nest and laid again, but the eggs were infertile.

Te Hari (YM-W) and Phantom (BW-M): This pair also took part in the egg-swap experiment, but with more success. Two of Phantom's eggs, having been candled to confirm they were fertile, were placed in a nest in the Hunua Ranges, and an egg from that nest was placed in her nest in bush 2. Unlike Cloudsley, Phantom continued sitting, hatched the egg and, with her partner Te Hari, raised the chick. Hunua (male, WM-W) is now independent of his foster parents. Happily, the other end of the egg-swap experiment also succeeded, and two of Phantom and Te Hari's chicks, one of them named 'Matangi', are now living in the Hunua Ranges.

Chatters (RG-M) and Te Rae (OM-JO): Unlike last year, Te Rae stayed with her long-term partner throughout the season and successfully raise two chicks, both female - Rangikata (RM-R) and Terewai (RM-G).

Parininihi (OM-Y) and Koha (BM-R): For the third season running, Parininihi and Koha failed to hatch any eggs. Koha built three nests, but eventually abandoned them all; those in the second and third nests proved to be infertile (the first nest was not easily accessible so the eggs were not checked).

Noel (OM-R) and Rehu (OM-J): Rehu built two nests this season. The first failed, but the second produced two chicks which fledged successfully: Tupoki (male, RM-GW) and Rangiohua (female, RM-O).

Crown (GM-G) and Pureora (GM-R): After two seasons without attempting to breed, Pureora finally built a nest, laid three eggs, and incubated. Unfortunately she abandoned them well before they were due to hatch, and all three were found to be infertile. 

Kikorangi (OM-G) and Mawhero (GM-W): After two failed attempts in 2011/12, this pair succeeded in hatching two chicks, a male and a female, and fed them till they were over three weeks old. Sadly, the nest was then predated, probably by a harrier, and both chicks were killed.

This is one of the driest autumns known on Tiritiri, and all pairs had finished nesting by the end of February. The season produced six fledged chicks, with a further three having died before fledging. Five of the fledged chicks (all except Hunua) are of Taranaki descent and so are destined eventually to be moved to that area, once a predator-free site has been secured for them.

Of the single birds, all those listed for 2011-12, except for Rimu, were seen during the 2012/13 season, including the three young males who fledged in 2011/12. Poutama (OM-W) has delighted visitors to Tiritiri by taking up residence in Little Wattle Valley, where he is often seen and heard from the Wattle Track and the Wharf Road. However, the Island is now getting rather crowded, with over 30 kokako in residence, so we hope to be able to move some birds off before the next breeding season. 

The 2013/14 season

The most significant event this year was the successful breeding by our Waipapa pair who finally produced their first chick, a female. It is hoped that this bird with her different genes will eventually be incorporated into the breeding population.

Another pair also finally successfully fledged a chick (mixture of Waipapa, Mapara and Taranaki genes), also a female.

Despite the very dry conditions experienced towards the end of summer, a record eleven chicks fledged successfully, four males and seven females.  In addition to this, one chick died shortly after fledging and two more chicks were lost to predation while still in the nest.

We had hoped to repeat last year’s successful egg swap with the Hunua Ranges Regional Park. However it failed at both sites.  Unfortunately the two eggs we received proved to be infertile and although we sent off three fertile eggs, the Hunua female never returned to the nest to incubate these eggs.

The nine established pairs remained together throughout the 2013/14 season, and two new partnerships formed, giving us eleven pairs - the most we have ever had. However, in November, one of the females from the new pairings disappeared and we ended up with ten pairs for the remainder of the season.

The fortunes of the pairs in 2013/14 were as follows:

Te Koha Waiata (Y-RM) and Cloudsley Shovell (M-O): Once again Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley failed to hatch any eggs from the three nests she built and used. It is assumed that the eggs were all infertile.

Te Hari (YM-W) and Phantom (BW-M): Their first nest in early November was part of the egg-swap experiment. Phantom completed the incubation but both eggs proved to be infertile. Shortly after this she built another nest and started incubating but abandoned this after about a week. By the first of January she was incubating again in a new nest which produced one chick, Bandit (male, JM-G) who fledged successfully.

Chatters (RG-M) and Te Rae (OM-JO): Te Rae built two nests this season. The first failed, but the second produced two chicks which fledged successfully: Whakatere (male, RM-GY) and Mere (female, RM-YJ).

Parininihi (OM-Y) and Koha (BM-R): For the fourth season running, Parininihi and Koha failed to hatch any eggs. At the start of the season Miharo, a single male, was seen with Koha having kicked Parininihi out of the territory. Shortly after this Koha left Miharo and moved into Parininihi’s new much smaller territory. Koha built a nest, but eventually abandoned it. She nested again and although we never found this nest it also failed.

Noel (OM-R) and Rehu (OM-J): Rehu built three nests this season. The first nest produced one chick but this was predated sometime after banding but before fledging. The second nest was predated at the egg stage.  Harrier predation is suspected in both cases. The third nest produced one chick which fledged successfully: Narangi (female, RM-WG).

Crown (GM-G) and Pureora (GM-R): After four unsuccessful breeding seasons (first year, a failed nest, two seasons without attempting to breed and another failed nest last season) Pureora was discovered incubating at the end of December. We added a bit of extra vegetation cover to the nest. This much wanted chick successfully fledged in early February. She has been named Discovery (GM-RY) after 360 Discovery who transport all our kokako to and from the Island free of charge. It is hoped that she will be recruited into the breeding population and add more genetic diversity to our population.

Kikorangi (OM-G) and Mawhero (GM-W): Mawhero built two nests this season. Once again the first nest was predated, probably by a harrier and the chick was killed at around three weeks of age. We added extra vegetation cover to her second nest which produced two chicks. Although both chicks fledged, one had a severe injury which must have occurred in the nest and which resulted in the chick dying a few days later. The remaining chick Aquarius (female, RM-GJ) again will add new genes if she is recruited into the breeding population.

Bariki (OM- RJ) and Lucky (unbanded): Once again Lucky was the first bird to nest this season. She was found lining her nest on 27 September and this nest produced one chick which fledged successfully: Hotu (male, RM-J). Their second nest successfully produced two chicks: Awatea (female, RM-YW) and Hinerau (female, RM-JY).

Takara (OM-YB) and Aria (JM-Y): After two failed nests last season Aria built her first nest of the season somewhere over the cliff at the bottom of Bush 23. This failed and we were relieved when she built her second nest in a more accessible location. We added extra vegetation cover and the nest successfully fledged two chicks: Taitoko (male, RM-JG) and Tiara (female, RM-WJ).

Puoho (RM-Y) and Terewai (RM-G): Although these birds are last year’s fledglings (Bariki/Lucky and Chatters/Te Rae’s offspring) they have already set up a territory in Little Wattle Valley. Terewai built a nest and incubated but the nest failed.

Most of the fledged chicks are of Taranaki descent and so are destined eventually to be moved to that area once the predator-free site has been secured for them.

Single Birds

During the 2013/14 season all of our single birds were seen except for Hunua (WM-W) our special egg swap bird who fledged in 2012/13.

Sarang (male, W-JM) paired up with one of last year’s chicks Rangikata (RM-R) in Bush 22. She built a nest but it was never used and she has not been seen since early November.

Miharo (male, JM-R) has taken over Parininihi and Koha’s old territory but does not have a mate.

Flieder (male, RM-W) has been sighted occasionally at the back of Bush 22 and near NE Bay.

Rimu (male, GM-) who had not been seen for two seasons has been seen several times over this breeding season. Unfortunately our other two Waipapa males, Slingshot (GM-WR) and Tawa (GM-J) have paired up and moved into Bush 21. Waipapa (GM-Y), the only single Waipapa female, has still not paired up with any of the available single males. 

Poutama (male, OM-W) continues to roam around the Island.

Tupoki (male, RM-GW) has been seen occasionally throughout the season in various locations.

Rangiohua (female, RM-O) was last seen on 24 October in Wattle Valley.

The Island is now even more crowded, with at least 39 kokako in residence, so we still hope to be able to move some birds off before the next breeding season. The increased number of female chicks fledged this season has given us a better sex ratio with 21 males and 18 females. Depending on how many survive over the next few months it will be interesting to see how many new pairs form and where they set up territories.

The 2014/15 season

This was an unusual breeding season for several species on Tiritiri, including kokako. Nesting was late and productivity was low; we ended the season with just three fledglings surviving beyond the first few weeks, despite 11 pairs having attempted to breed. Predation, presumably by harriers, was a problem, and some chicks died in the nest after failing to develop. We can only speculate that parents might have found it difficult to supply sufficient or appropriate food, despite conditions being wetter than in the previous two seasons.

The ten established pairs from 2013/14 remained together throughout this season, and three new pairs formed, plus one or two shorter-term alliances amongst the young birds. Their fortunes were as follows:

Te Koha Waiata (Y-RM) and Cloudsley Shovell (M-O): Cloudsley built two nests this season but only used the second one. The eggs failed to hatch, as has become typical for this pair in recent years.

Te Hari (YM-W) and Phantom (BW-M): These very reliable parents raised one chick this year who thrived and fledged, surviving long enough to acquire a name: Sapphire. Sadly s/he disappeared within a week or two of fledging.

Chatters (RG-M) and Te Rae (OM-JO): Te Rae's first nest this season produced two hatched chicks but they disappeared from the nest when only a few days old, presumably predated by a harrier or morepork. Two more chicks hatched in their second nest, but the smaller of the two died when about two weeks old. The remaining chick fledged successfully, a male who was named Kahu (without a macron, meaning 'cloak') by the students of Mimi School in Parininihi. His bands are RM-YY.

Parininihi (OM-Y) and Koha (BM-R): Koha nested on the edge of Bush 2 and incubated for the full 20 or so days, but yet again the eggs failed to hatch. We are more or less convinced that she is infertile.

Noel (OM-R) and Rehu (OM-J): This pair had two nesting attempts this season. The first produced a strong, healthy chick which disappeared from the nest - presumably predated - at around two weeks old. The second nest was abandoned round about the expected hatching time, and a later inspection revealed an unhatched egg plus the remains of a very tiny chick which died just before or after hatching.

Crown (GM-G) and Pureora (GM-R): The heroes of last season (having fledged the first purely Waipapa bird on the Island) succeeded again this year, producing a female called Royal (GM-JY). A second chick - much smaller and less developed - died before fledging.

Kikorangi (OM-G) and Mawhero (GM-W): Mawhero took nearly a month to complete her only nest of the season. One chick was produced and left the nest slightly early, but apparently without mishap. Sadly, the fledgling disappeared a few days later after spending a lot of time in the tree-tops when s/he was probably rather conspicuous to harriers.

Bariki (OM-RJ) and Lucky (unbanded): Lucky was again the first to nest and misled members of the monitoring team by using a nest from 2013/14 instead of building a new one. The chick fledged in late December and is the oldest of the three surviving fledglings. A female, named Freedom by the students of Mimi School, her bands are RM-YG.

Takara (OM-YB) and Aria (JM-Y): This pair had no success this season. Their first nest was found to be empty after a week or so of incubation. In the second, Aria incubated for longer but again abandoned and, on inspection, the nest was found to be empty. Predation is suspected in both cases, though we were puzzled by the absence of egg shells, which are normally left when a nest is predated at egg stage.

Puoho (RM-Y) and Terewai (RM-G): In their second season together this young pair had two nesting attempts. In the first, the eggs failed to hatch. The second nest produced one chick, which remained very small and eventually died, possibly through malnutrition. We cannot tell whether this was due to the inexperience of the parents or an inadequate supply of food.

Miharo (JM-R) and Mere (RM-YJ): Miharo had been holding a territory around Bush 4 for over a year, so it was no surprise to find one of the young females from 2013/14, Mere, moving in with him. Despite her inexperience, Mere built a very good nest and incubated for longer than the full term, but the eggs failed to hatch, as is very common for young birds.

Sarang (W-M) and Discovery (GM-RY): The kokako team were delighted to find that Discovery, Crown and Pureora's daughter from 2013/14, has paired up with Sarang, a young and very eligible male holding a territory near Discovery's parents in Bush 22. The pair stayed together all season but did not attempt to nest.

Tupoki (RM-GW) and Hinerau (RM-JY): This is a new pair, formed during the early part of the season. They made no nesting attempt, but this is not surprising given Hinerau's age (just one year) and their choice of territory, which is squeezed into Wattle Valley between Te Koha Waiata on one side and Puoho on the other. Unfortunately, it overlaps with an area which Poutama (OM-W), a confirmed bachelor, seems to have claimed as his own. Several brief fights between Tupoki and Poutama were seen during the season.

These are the thirteen pairs which, by autumn 2015, appeared to be 'established', though three of them are very new. There were also signs that Bandit (JM-G), Te Hari and Phantom's son from 2013/14, might get together with Aquarius (RM-GJ), Kikorangi and Mawhero's daughter from 2013/14, but by the end of the season he appeared to have transferred his attention to Tiara (RM-WJ), Takara and Aria's one-year-old daughter. It will be interesting to see whether these relationships change further before the 2015/16 season begins.

Of the birds not mentioned so far:

Flieder (male, RM-W) persists in holding a territory at the north end of the Island and has so far failed to attract a female to join him there. The two Waipapa males, Slingshot (GM-WR) and Tawa (GM-J), remained together in Bush 21 and Waipapa (female, GM-Y) spent a lot of time in and around Lighthouse Valley. Towards the end of the summer, the young female Awatea (RM-YW) also frequented Lighthouse Valley. Of the 2013/14 fledglings, Narangi (female, RM-WG), Taitoko (male, RM-JG) and Hotu (male, RM-J), were seen from time to time during the season. Of the birds assumed or known to be alive at the end of the 2013/14 season, the only ones not seen this season were Rimu (male, GM--) and Whakatere (RM-GY).

This gives us a total of around 43 individual birds to look out for during the coming months. 

The 2015/16 season

If last season was unusual, this one was totally unique! The young birds hatched in 2013-14, of whom ten out of the 11 fledglings are still alive, are now breeding successfully for the first time. As a result we had a total of 17 pairs on the Island who produced a total of 20 fledged chicks! This gave us a total of around 62 birds by March 2016, though one of the fledglings is known to have died in May (see below).

In July 2015, Cloudsley Shovell and her partner of 17 years, Te Koha Waiata, spilt up, he having been ousted from his Wattle Valley territory by his grandson Bandit. Te Koha Waiata continued to be seen throughout the season but not back in his old territory.

Another surprising event was that Poutama finally found a partner willing to stay with him (Tiara), and indeed proved himself to be a competent parent despite his total lack of experience.

The fortunes of the pairs went as follows:

Bandit (JM-G) and Cloudsley Shovell (M-O): Cloudsley Shovell built two nests this season. The first nest produced one chick who disappeared around 10 days old. The second nest produced one fledgling: Tioriori (male, JM-WY).

Te Hari (YM-W) and Phantom (BW-M): In the past, once they have fledged a chick, they have not attempted to nest again that season. This season was different. Phantom’s first nest produced Sapphire (male, JM-WW) (we decided to re-use the name Sapphire from last season since the first Sapphire had disappeared at only a few weeks old). Her second nest produced two more fledglings: Haeata (female, JM-WG) and Wainene (male, JM-WJ).

Chatters (RG-M) and Te Rae (OM-JO): Te Rae’s first nest this season produced at least one chick but the nest failed a few days after hatching. One dead chick was found under the nest. Her second nest produced two fledglings: Hemi (male, RM-WR) and Hohaia (male, RM-JR). 

Parininihi (OM-Y) and Koha (BM-R): Koha nested three times this season but all nests failed. This is the sixth season in which no eggs have hatched. 

Noel (OM-R) and Rehu (OM-J): In past seasons, Rehu has not re-nested once she has fledged a chick. This season they produced Hastie (male, RM-GG) from the first nest and Wynter (female, RM-RJ) from a second nest. Sadly, Wynter was found sick in May and was taken to Auckland Zoo for treatment, where she died the following day.

Crown (GM-G) and Pureora (GM-R): Although Pureora built two nests this season she only used the second one. For the first time ever they successfully fledged two chicks: Kanti (female, GM-RW) and Te Kaiwaiata (female, GM-RJ).

Kikorangi (OM-G) and Mawhero (GM-W): Mawhero built three nests this season but did not use the first one. Her second nest failed but they produced Wairua (female, RM-RG) from the third nest.

Bariki (OM- RJ) and Lucky (unbanded): As usual, Lucky (along with her daughter Hinerau) was one of the first birds to nest this season. The first nest produced Carter (male, RM-JJ) and the second nest produced Lydia Ko (female, RM-GR) and Parirau (female, RM-RY). 

Takara (OM-YB) and Aria (JM-Y): Unfortunately Aria decided to nest over the cliff this season. The nest was successful and produced one fledgling who is unbanded, gender unknown.

Puoho (RM-Y) and Terewai (RM-G): This season they had three nesting attempts. The first nest produced one chick who was too big to band when the nest was visited. The second nest failed and was found to contain two broken eggs. The third nest was abandoned round about the expected hatching time. 

Miharo (JM-R) and Mere (RM-YJ): In their second season together this pair had four nesting attempts. The first nest failed and the second nest was abandoned part way through the incubation period. When checked it was empty so perhaps it was predated. The third nest was also abandoned during incubation but was found to contain broken eggs. Their fourth nest produced one fledgling who remains unbanded because the poorly built nest began disintegrating and the chick fledged early.  

Sarang (W-M) and Discovery (GM-RY): This young pair didn’t nest in their first season together, but this time round Discovery built one nest which produced Indigo (male, GM-RG). He is the first offspring of a Mapara/Waipapa pairing on the Island and combines the genetic heritage of Te Koha Waiata and Cloudsley Shovell with that of Crown and Pureora.

Tupoki (RM-GW) and Hinerau (RM-JY): Another young pair who didn’t nest in their first season together. Hinerau appears to be an early nester like her mother Lucky, as she started building her first nest at the same time, but this failed. The second nest produced a chick or chicks who disappeared after a few days, possibly predated. Hinerau abandoned the third nest she was building and instead relined her first nest of the season which produced Korihi (male, RM-YR).

Poutama (OM-W) and Tiara (RM-WJ): This was their first season together. At two years old, Tiara is a young bird who has paired up with a very much older but inexperienced male. She took a long time to build her first nest but this failed. The second nest produced Maui (male, RM-RW) who will add new genes to the Taranaki lineage if he is recruited into the breeding population.

Taitoko RM-JG) and Freedom (RM-YG): Although Freedom is one of last year’s fledglings (Bariki and Lucky’s offspring) she paired up with Taitoko (Takara and Aria’s offspring) who is only two years old. They have a small territory squeezed in between three other pairs (Pouho and Terewai, Bandit and Cloudsley Shovell and Tupoki and Hinerau). Despite being only a year old she started to build a nest but didn’t finish it. She then completed another nest and incubated but this failed. It was found empty so it was possibly predated. Freedom started to build a third nest but did not complete it.

Hotu (RM-J) and Aquarius (RM-GJ): Hotu (Bariki and Lucky’s son) and Aquarius (Kikorangi and Mawhero’s daughter) are both two years old. They appear to have established a territory in between Chatters and Te Rae and Takara and Aria. They did not attempt to nest this season.

Flieder (RM-W) and Narangi (RM-WG): Flieder, a single male (2011-2012 season) has had a territory at the northern end of the Island for a couple of years. Narangi, who is two years old, paired up with him later in the season. Unfortunately they are both Bariki and Lucky’s offspring.  

Single Birds

Te Koha Waiata (male, Y-RM) has been seen from time to time along the Cable Track, Ridge Road and Graham’s Road. The two Waipapa males, Slingshot (GM-WR) and Tawa (GM-J) remained together in Bush 21 and Waipapa (GM-Y), the only single Waipapa female, is settled in and around Lighthouse Valley.  Awatea (RM-YW), a two year old female also frequents Lighthouse Valley and has been seen with Waipapa. Rimu (male, GM/-), who is more secretive and harder to see than most, was seen once in July 2015. The other two 2014/15 fledglings, Royal (female, GM-JY) and Kahu (male, RM-YY) have both been seen throughout the season. Kahu is regularly seen round the Visitor Centre area.