Migrant To New Zealand

Here’s a bird that arrives in New Zealand during Spring and departs before Winter, our very own fair weather friend. It has a distinctive call so we know when it’s arrived. Generally it doesn’t hang around at low levels – instead it’s usually up in the tree canopy where it’s almost impossible to spot so I’ve only ever seen this bird once.

This photo taken at Papatowai in The Catlins, South Otago, New Zealand.

Shining Cuckoo

— apparently this is named Shining Bronze-Cuckoo in Australia

One day I was at home when we lived in The Catlins and I glanced outside our bedroom window. And I couldn’t believe my eyes … hanging out with a bunch of silver-eyes was a shining cuckoo! They’d all landed on a gravel area outside our house. Silver-eyes are tiny and the cuckoo looked out of place with the tiny birds! I called out to Nigel and he sneaked into the room with his camera and managed to get this photo. What a coup!

Click on the photo to enlarge.


The photo appears to have been taken back in December 2014.

Fellow NZ blogger Wendy up in the North Island posted about a Shining Cuckoo today and that’s what prompted me to do this post.

She has a lot more information about the bird in her post and also close-up photos of the plumage:  Wendy’s Shining Cuckoo Blog-Post.

Text by Liz, photo by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2019)

15 thoughts on “Migrant To New Zealand

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  1. New Zealand Birds Online tells us that “there are no other iridescent green birds in New Zealand.” That page also mentions a subspecies that breeds in NZ. I assume that means the birds of that subspecies avoid having to undertake the long north-south migration.


    1. I’ve just read that piece and when it mentions “the NZ sub-species” it’s referencing this same species (as opposed to other sub-species that breed in various other places mentioned). This species does the migration to NZ and then breeds here by laying eggs in grey warblers nests. Funny what they said about iridescent green – I think of the native pigeon as having iridescent green plumage but perhaps not shiny enough to be called iridescent!


  2. We have a lot of riroriro around here and I’m always on the look out for the shining cuckoo … one day I might be lucky enough, like you, to spot one. I’m not sure if I’ve heard one or not, but am familiarising myself with it’s call just in case we do have them here. Someone told me that if we have riroriro we’re sure to have the cuckoo as well. Love this post and the link to the info thanks Liz!

    Liked by 1 person

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