Tieke and Popokatea Translocation


In May 2014, Rotokare staff and volunteers assisted conservation scientist and translocation biologist Kevin Parker and his team with a translocation of tieke/saddleback and popokatea/whitehead to Rotokare.

Approximately half of the tieke and all of the popokatea were sourced from Hauturu o Toi (Little Barrier Island), the remaining tieke were captured from a nearby sanctuary, Bushy Park in Whanganui. 

Early monitoring, indicates that the birds are doing well.  We are all looking forward to the next breeding season, and the ongoing sounds of these birds in the Rotokare forest. 










About the birds......


Popokatea/whitehead are found in Taranaki, however, they are sparse and completely absent from Rotokare. They are a flocking bird, and an important host for the parasitic long-tail cuckoo.  Cuckoo's lay their eggs in another 'host' birds nest, the host, none the wiser looks after the imposter chick.  The cuckoo chick soon outgrows the host parent, all the while still being feed and looked after.

Tieke/saddleback are an endangered member of the ancient wattle bird family.  Other members include the now extinct huia, and the very endangered kokako.  Tieke would have once lived throughout the North Island, however, rats and a reduction in habitat reduced the total population down to just 500 individuals on a single off shore island (Hen Is).  Since then, intensive conservation techniques have been used and there are not approximately 7,000 tieke on other islands and mainland sanctuaries throughout the country. 

Tieke have been locally extinct from Taranaki for over a century, so Rotokare has made conservation history by bringing these birds back.