Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)

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:


Via Contain Cats NZ