|A pair of huia on a karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus) branch. Image: John Gould|
|Male huia with a shorter beak. Photo credit: Dr Paddy Ryan|
|Female huia with a longer beak. Photo credit: Dr Paddy Ryan|
Like so many of New Zealand's extinct birds, it was undoubtedly related to anthropogenic activity. Humans have only been in New Zealand for around 800 years, and yet in that time about 26 percent of 223 breeding birds species have gone extinct. The first settlers in New Zealand from Polynesia would have hunted birds for food and feathers and they also brought with them a predator, the kiore or polynesian rat. But, it was the successive colonisation by Europeans that was devastating. A wave of new predators including rats, cats, stoats and other mustelids and, possums accompanied the new settlers. In addition, many hectares of native forest were cleared for timber, real estate and agriculture, shrinking the habitat for native fauna. Sadly, by the 1920s the huia was extinct. There were later unconfirmed of sightings of the bird but that was in the 1960s.
|Stuffed female huia. Photo credit: John Thomas Pusateri Jr.|
The image above is by John Thomas Pusateri Jr.. Check out his website for other similar images. They are great.