The Kōkako is a large, distinctive songbird with beautiful plumage. It has bluish-grey feathers, a long, elegant tail, and a dark mask around its eyes. The most striking feature of the Kōkako is its vibrant blue wattles, which hang down from either side of its beak.
Kōkako are endemic to New Zealand and are primarily found in lowland and montane forests of the North Island. They prefer mature native forests with a dense canopy and an understory of shrubs and trees.
Kōkako are omnivorous birds, feeding on various food sources. They primarily eat the leaves, flowers, and fruit of native trees, such as tawa, miro, and kahikatea. They also consume insects, snails, and occasionally nectar.
Kōkako form monogamous pairs during the breeding season. They build cup-shaped nests made of twigs, moss, and other plant materials, usually situated on a horizontal branch or fork in a tree. The female lays 1-3 eggs, and both parents participate in incubation and raising the chicks.
The Kōkako is classified as a threatened species in New Zealand. Their populations have declined due to habitat loss, predation by introduced species (such as rats, stoats, and possums), and competition with other bird species. Conservation efforts, including predator control and habitat restoration, aim to protect and increase Kōkako populations.
Kōkako strongly associates with native trees that provide essential resources for their survival. They mainly rely on trees with large fleshy fruits, such as tawa and miro, which form a significant part of their diet. Kōkako are known for their role in seed dispersal, helping to regenerate forests by spreading the seeds of these trees.