Forty tīeke, or North Island saddlebacks, are now making new homes for themselves at Auckland’s Shakespear Regional Park.
The birds are being released into the park because it provides an ideal habitat for them. It is hoped as the population builds up, the birds should disperse across the regional park.
In a couple of weeks, another 10 tīeke, from Tawharanui Regional Park, will be released at Shakespear.
Tīeke disappeared from mainland New Zealand in the late 19th century, surviving only on a single offshore island.
In the last 10 to 15 years, they have also found homes at predator-free sanctuaries on the mainland, including Zealandia in Wellington.
Tīeke are a smaller relative of the kōkako and huia. They are a noisy and bold bird, with a loud and distinctive call. They have a distinctive chesnut saddle on their backs and red wattles.
The birds are usually found foraging on the forest floor, and are poor fliers, meaning they are easy prey for introduced predators.