In August last year a small green pigeon flew across the Tasman Sea – and into the history books. It became the first vagrant bird species to be intercepted at the New Zealand border and put down as a potential biosecurity risk. Te Papa bird expert Colin Miskelly tells the unfortunate story of New Zealand’s first rose-crowned fruit-dove.
Finding a new bird species for their country of residence is the holy grail for many birdwatchers. Over the last decade, new species have been detected in New Zealand at an average rate of one every 15 months. The finding of two new bird species within 2 days by the same team of observers was unprecedented – but that is what happened.
The latest addition to the New Zealand bird list is not a species that anyone expected – and it very nearly got over-looked. Dunedin-based Leon Berard was working as a Ministry for Primary Industries fisheries observer in February 2014, when he photographed a bird that he did not recognise. He