Bay of Plenty kōkako numbers on rise

Survey team Joe, Dave and Amanda with a map of the 1200ha survey area.

Image: Rotoehu Ecological Trust | ©

A total of 157 pairs and thirteen single birds were recorded during the survey.

Rotoehu Ecological Trust (RET) chairperson Sarah Orton said a 2013 survey indicated just 50 kōkako pairs, although the survey area was 600ha smaller.

“The survey team reported that most of the kōkako pairs had fledglings with them indicating that we’re supporting a healthy and robust population,” Sarah says.

The survey was completed eight months after the completion of a large scale pest control operation led by RET, which has actively managed pest control in the area since 2013.

The survey area of 1200ha included areas managed by Timberlands, lands owned by Ngati Makino and public conservation land administered by DOC.

Titipounamu/rifleman, pōpokatea/whitehead and toutouwai/robins were also sighted in abundance during the survey.

DOC Supervisor Carrie Abbott says the results are fantastic and a testament to the time and effort RET dedicates to pest control.

“The primary cause for kōkako decline is predation at nest – the females incubate their eggs for 18 days and are effectively sitting targets for ship rats and possums.

“Pest control can be a challenging line of work – rain or shine, traps need to be emptied regularly and baits replaced so they are attractive to predators. It’s arduous and time consuming. Undoubtedly, these survey results would be very different if it weren’t for the work of RET and the good use of a combination of pest control tools,” Carrie says.

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