30 October, 2011


Scientific Name: Strigops habroptila

Population Estimate: 131 individuals in 2011, Critically Endangered status

Range / Habitat: Used to be endemic throughout New Zealand. Now only on a few predator-free islands off the coast. Mating cycle dependent on one specific tree, the rimu, and its erratic fruiting cycle.

Field Notes: Large, nocturnal, flightless. Uses a lek system to mate, the only parrot or flightless bird to do so.

Personal Notes: Probably the only opportunity to see a Kakapo in our lifetimes, this was Sirocco on loan to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington. The predator-free islands where Kakapo now live in the wild are closed to the public. For more information see http://www.kakaporecovery.org.nz/. Kakapo translates as "night parrot" or "owl parrot" in Maori.

23 October, 2011

European Greenfinch

Scientific Name: Carduelis chloris

Population Estimate: 45M - 150M

Range / Habitat: Widespread throughout Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia in artificial landscapes and shrubland. Some northern populations migrate. Also introduced into both Australia and New Zealand.

Field Notes: Similar in size and shape to a House Sparrow, but greenish color with bright yellow in wings and tail. Female more drab than male. Large, conical, pale bill. Other yellow species in New Zealand is Yellowhammer which has smaller, grey bill and rufous wings and upperparts.

Personal Notes: Seen at the Wellington Botanical Gardens.