South Island Kōkako
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New Zealand cryptid, Polynesian cryptid
Omnivore, Lazarus taxon
The South Island kōkako was a species of bird native to South Island, New Zealand. Similar to their relative, the North Island kōkako, they were large, had slate-grey plumage, long legs, a dark face, and notably, bright orange wattles, unlike the blue wattles on North Island kōkakos. Unfortunately, the South Island kōkako population started dwindling, possibly due to introduced predators like cats, stoats and ferrets, but this is unconfirmed, as North Island kōkakos are still plentiful and not at risk. By 1967, the last confirmed sighting was reported on Mt. Aspiring.
Since 1967, however, over 430 sightings have occurred according to the South Island Kōkako Charitable Trust, ran by Inger Perkins, who recorded what seemed to be South Island kōkako vocalizations in 2009. On March 24th, 2017, a possible South Island kōkako call was recorded in the Grey Valley.
One of the more recent sightings was by Liam Beattie, who claimed to have seen an orange-wattled kōkako in Kahurangi National Park in November of 2018. He saw the animal perch onto a tree branch, hop onto the forest floor, then fly away. An interactive map made by the South Island Kōkako Charitable Trust is available online as well.