Friday, March 2, 2012

New Zealand Stamp: Kōkako

The Kōkako (Callaeas cinereus) is a forest bird which is endemic to New Zealand. It is slate-grey with wattles and a black mask. It is one of three species of New Zealand Wattlebird, the other two being the endangered Tieke (saddleback) and the extinct Huia

The Kōkako illustrated is a North Island Kōkako (Callaeas cinerea wilsoni). It has blue wattles while the South Island Kōkako (Callaeas cinerea cinerea) by contrast has largely orange wattles, with only a small patch of blue at the base.

The North Island Kōkako is now quite rare—barely surviving its orange-wattled South Island cousins, considered today to be extinct. Kōkako populations throughout New Zealand have been reduced by the predations of mammalian invasive species such as possums, stoats, cats and rats and their range has contracted significantly. 

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