Can you help identify this bird? [Solved!]

This bird call was recorded about two thirds of the way up Glider Road in pine forest on the Barnicoat Range in Nelson about 11.30am.

Nobody in the party could remember hearing this distinctive, loud call before. We caught a brief glimpse of the bird in flight – seemed reasonably large, maybe brownish – but not enough to identify.

Here’s a recording. Quality is not that great as it was captured on a phone. The first three calls are in real time, the last 2 were cut and pasted from a separate recording (some foot steps in the background).

We heard a reply to the call in the distance.


Although it sounds parrot-like, no likely candidates or exact matches that I could find on this handy DOC Bird songs and calls page or this ‘What bird‘ site.

Can you help us solve this mystery?

As soon as we have a firm answer, we’ll post it here!


Many thanks to the folks at DOC Nelson and Motueka who identified this bird as the Long Tailed Cuckoo – likely on it’s way to the Bismarck Archipelago off the coast of New Guinea.

UPDATE 2 (2016-10-30):

The bird is back! Heard and saw the Long-tailed Cuckoo again in virtually the same spot (-41.341075, 173.253072) October 30th 2016 – presumably having returned from it’s migration for the breeding season (October-March). Heard again on Nov 02 within 100m of the Oct 30th sighting.

Details and images of the Long Tailed Cuckoo here: and here

Checkout the NZ Cuckoo Facebook page:
And on Twitter:

2 Comments/Reviews

  1. Steve
    Posted January 26, 2016 at 9:05 am #    

    Yay - mystery solved indeed. Thanks mate.

    • ecofind
      Posted January 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm #    

      Looking forward to hearing more bird calls in the hills around Nelson hills over the next few years.

      The Brook Sanctuary fence is due to be completed this winter and there's some great community pest control work being done in the region.

      Cf. the Nelson Nature initiative.