Tag Archive for new zealand

Moa

The Moa  were a family of large ancient flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest of the nine kinds found there were about 12 feet tall and weighed in at 500 pounds. They had small heads and were completely wingless, lacking even the stubby vestigial wings of other flightless birds,; they were the dominant herbivores in the area. For millions of…

New Zealand Quail

  The New Zealand Quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae) has been officially extinct since 1875. Sir Joseph Banks was the first westerner to describe it; he was an illustrious naturalist, mostly interested in botany, who accompanied Captain James Cook on his famous sea voyage from 1768–1771, exploring the globe and dispersing invasive species around the world. Cook took several jaunts around the globe, often…

Piopio

From New Zealand. They liked the forest floor and rooting around in underbrush. They built nests like little cups in trees only a few feet away from the ground. Piopios had a beautiful call, and also often mimicked the call of other birds as well. Two things did away with them: deforestation, and the introduction of new predators, particularly rats.…

Laughing Owl

Laughing Owl

Look at how handsome he is. This is another New Zealand bird. His cry sounded like “a series of dismal shrieks frequently repeated”,  or, alternately, as “a peculiar laughing cry, uttered with a descending scale of notes”. No one is really sure what happened to the Laughing Owl;  by the time European naturalists starting paying attention to it it was…