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  • Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
    Published 4 October 2022 Referencing Hub media

    Meet the enigmatic ruru – a bird with remarkable adaptations from stealth wings to a 270-degree swivel head.

    In 2022, there really is only one bird for Bird of the Year – and indeed Bird of the Decade – the ruru!

    Vote for the ruru now!


    Voice over

    From the repo to the forest and mountains echo the calls of Aotearoa’s next Bird of the Year: the ruru!

    The reo of the bird some call morepork has long spoken omens and nightly weather forecasts.

    But these owls aren’t what they seem! Morepork really eats more insects and rodents. They hunt by night, swooping on comb-edged silent wings and seeking their prey with incredibly keen eyes.

    In the 80s, Sweetheart the ruru was paired with the very last Norfolk boobook cousin. Today, they have almost 50 mokopuna!

    Pūrākau tell of ruru’s role when building the first wharekura and of how ruru invented pūkana. You’re welcome, All Blacks!

    The eyes have it – Bird of the Year’s got to be the night flyer with the 270-degree swivel head.


    Ruru calls courtesy of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Department of Conservation.
    Rob Roy Glacier, Pseudopanax. CC BY 3.0.
    Footage of curious ruru, Nick Bradsworth.
    Marlon Williams in concert, Bruce Baker. CC BY 2.0.
    Ruru in enclosure from Meet the Locals: Ruru. Department of Conservation. CC BY 4.0.
    Television static, Creative Films. CC BY 4.0.
    Red curtain, MoxesVids. CC BY 4.0.
    Taxidermy Ninox novaeseelandiae on stand; wing and torso (used in flying animation). Auckland Museum. CC BY 4.0.
    Huhu grub illustration by George Vernon Hudson (1867-1946). Smithsonian Archives and Libraries. CC BY 2.0.
    Flying ruru and track through forest from Legends of the Birds (1962). Archives New Zealand. CC BY 4.0.
    Footage in dense native forest, Chris Zabriskie. CC BY 4.0.
    Sweetheart’s coat adapted from image by Taehyung’s Moment. CC BY 4.0.
    New Zealand All Blacks haka, David Molloy Photography. CC BY 2.0.
    Soundtrack by SergeQuadrado. CC BY-NC 3.0.

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