Extinct Bird Species in New Zealand- Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)

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Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

Huia were unique birds; sexually dimorphic due to the different bill shape and known to hunt cooperatively close to the forest floor in search of invertebrates and fruit.

Rats, cats, stoats and ferrets are attributed as the primary cause of this extinction, and would have found huia easy prey as it was often referred to as “ecologically naive”. Like so many endemic species in NZ, it had no evolutionary experience in co-existing with mammals and was not distressed by their presence. Genetic studies indicate a population of somewhere between 34,000 to 89,000 birds existed historically (in the North Island only) and a deadly cocktail or these predators and human hunting witnessed the loss of this entire population in a relatively short time.



Extinct birds of New Zealand. Alan Tennyson. Tepapa Press 2006

Male and female Huia. Image 2006-0010-1/11 from the series ‘Extinct birds of New Zealand’. Masterton. Image © Purchased 2006. © Te Papa by Paul Martinson See Te Papa website:http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?irn=711025&page=2&term=huia


More to read:



Flightless birds of a ancient past

Ever thought if there were more bird dinosaur’s then the very few we have been shown?

Well there were, but the information isn’t thay widespread.

Even if I find the title ‘terror birds’ not suitable at all (as there have been other  dinosaur’s like the T-Rex for example who were far more terrifying),  it’s still a interesting read through the article below…



Recover of wildlife without cats

The removal of cats(domestic and feral) from natural environments enables endemic wildlife to recover and thrive.

“Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island was New Zealand’s first nature reserve. A campaign to eradicate feral cats on the island was successfully concluded in June 1980. Kokako and tieke (saddleback) were liberated following cat eradication and have flourished. Seabirds previously exterminated by cats and kiore are returning”. (Department of Conservation)

Article; a trip to Great Barrier Island. Auckland’s Petrel problem.

“It’s been a bad year for cats getting these birds and often when they kill a mother rail, somebody finds the chicks and brings them to Karen.

Rails are well camouflaged and can hid from most predators, but cats seem able to sniff them out, she says.

“There’s a big feral cat problem on this island and what they do to black petrels is particularly nasty. I’ve found petrels killed by cats. The birds are too big for the cats to manage, so they pull their feathers out to incapacitate them, or bite their heads off.”

On Great Barrier Island, Karen favours household cats being sterilized and not replaced once they die of old age.”

Artist Karen Walker wants to cats eventually banned from Great Barrier. The NZ Herald 5:00 AM Friday Jan 30, 2015



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