A bird that is supposedly extinct has reportedly been spotted in Golden Bay near the top of the South Island.
A tramper hiking on the Heaphy Track was looking for takahē in the bush. Instead what he found was a large dark blue bird with orange under its beak. The bird flew onto a branch, hopped along a couple of branches, then flew away.
It’s thought to have been a South Island kōkako, known as “the grey ghost”. The South Island kōkako was classified as extinct by the Department of Conservation in 2007.
However, every year there are around half a dozen sightings. The trust is offering a $10,000 reward for definitive photographic evidence of the South Island kōkako’s existence.
Mr Nilsson said they had hundreds of reports from people claiming to have seen the birds over the years.
The last accepted sighting of the orange-wattled kōkako – a separate species from the endangered blue-wattled North Island kōkako – was in Mount Aspiring National Park in 1967.