Country’s treasured avian species puff up their plumage as nation votes on who rules the roost

Bird of the Year leaderboard – check the pecking order

First there was the “Jacinda effect” and a government to cobble together. Then came the mania for the jade Kākāriki, the shining cuckoo and the stern Ruru.

New Zealand’s Bird of the Year Competition has kicked off, and it has galvanised voters with the same intensity as the recent election. Now in its 13th year, the poll pits the country’s rare and endangered birds against one another: the cheeky Kea versus the shy Kiwi, the dowdy Bar Tailed Godwit against the alluring Hihi.

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