Mounted South Island Kokako Specimen; Callaeas cinerea cinerea; 2005/214.03


South Canterbury Museum


Mounted South Island Kokako Specimen

Taxonomic Classification

Callaeas cinerea cinerea

About this object

Despite dating to the late nineteenth century, this taxidermy specimen of a South Island kokako is in excellent condition. It was extracted for display from a large collection of native New Zealand and Australian birds perched amongst a tangle of branches in a glass-fronted wooden cabinet.

The specimen is mounted in a perched position. It has distinctive russet-coloured wattles with blue patches near the base. These hang beneath a black beak that is surrounded by a fine band of black feathers. The body feathers are blue-grey with some brown in the tail.

This songbird is now believed to have become extinct in the mid-twentieth century. It once occurred widely throughout much of the island, including South Canterbury, but had disappeared from the area before European settlement. Its cousin the North Island kokako, distinguished by its solid blue wattles, is classified as endangered.

The South Island kokako spent a lot of time on the ground foraging for food as well as further up in the forest canopy. These habits would have made it an easy target for introduced predators such as stoats. In addition, nests were raided by introduced rats and brush-tailed possums.

Object number


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