Huia

hoo-yuh

The Huia was a species of wattlebird inhabiting the mountains and rainforests of eastern North Island, New Zealand. Huias were black, the ends of their tail feathers were white, and their beaks ranged widely in shape by sexual dimorphism, but the most striking feature was their bright orange wattles below their beak. Their call was described as strange, melodious and flute-like. Unfortunately, Huias went extinct in 1907. Despite this, sightings of Huias continue to the present day and some ornithologists think they survived into the 1960s. 

Between 1907 and 1929, 23 sightings of Huias were reported. In 1961 Margaret Hutchinson spotted a Huia at Lake Waikareti in the Urew-era State Forest, North Island, noting its distinctive tail. And in 1991, Danish zoologist Lars Thomas claimed to have seen a huia in the Pureora Forest. According to Paleozoologist Ron Scarlett, who mapped post-1907 Huia sightings, Huias were moving northwards and were retreating into further inaccessible areas, and are now mainly reported in the deepest parts of the Kaimanawa Mountains. The Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum in Wellington has recreated Huia calls based on the bone structure of the skull and recordings of recreations by people who have heard the Huia before 1907.

John Gerrard Keulemans' painting depicti