Taken from the Campbells Bay Times October 2009
Thanks to Centennial Park and the bay’s wealth of mature garden and roadside trees, spring always brings a flood of birdsong to Campbells Bay – but the bird which really steals the show is the shining cuckoo, or pipiwharauroa. The shining cuckoo’s far-carrying, distinctive song is a series of ascending whistles finishing with a plaintive, descending piuuu, piuuu. Once learned, it is instantly recognisable and never forgotten. Little bigger than a sparrow, the shining cuckoo arrives in September from winter quarters in the Solomon Islands and Bismarck Archipelago. Like many cuckoos, it is a brood parasite - laying its eggs in the nests of the diminutive grey warbler or riroriro – a common species in Centennial Park.
The grey warbler’s survival strategy is to start breeding in early September and rear a clutch before the first cuckoo eggs are laid into the second clutch in October. Shining cuckoos are more often heard than seen but many are found dead or stunned after flying into windows. In the hand they reveal a glossy bronze-green back and finely barred white underparts. The North Island’s first 2009 report of a shining cuckoo call was September 8, at East Tamaki Heights.Make a note of when you hear pipiwharauroa in Campbells Bay and send us an email.
Alan Emmerson (Chairman, North Shore Forest & Bird)