I have R₂ to thank for this one, possibly the bird photo I am most pleased with so far.

pīpīwharauroa in a kōwhai tree with a kōwhai tree moth caterpillar in its mouth

It was one of those warm-calm and overcast evenings. R₂ was looking out the window and alerted us to what she thought was a Pīpīwharauroa (Shining Cuckoo) on our kōwhai tree. She was right, of course, despite it being a bird none of us has ever actually seen before.

They are not uncommon - their distinctive call heralds spring as they make their way south down into New Zealand from New Caledonia to breed each year. But they are very cryptic and easily disturbed, and the closest I’d got in the past was spotting outlines of them high in the trees.

This one was systematically harvesting the tree for the kōwhai tree moth caterpillars – there’s one in its mouth in this photo – and seemed to be OK with me just 10 metres away snapping madly.

Now, if I could only get a photo of its larger and rarer cousin, the Koekoeā (Long-tailed Cuckoo), which I have seen in a blur overhead, but once.

Gathadair @dubh
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