The Rock | Bay of Islads Adventure Cruise

Kingfisher | Kotare

Bird Life

Sacred Kingfisher | Kotare

New Zealand local bird Kingfisher

New Zealand  Local bird - Kingfisher - Kotare in the Bay of Islands

There are over 100 species of kingfisher worldwide, but only the Sacred Kingfisher,  Todiramphus Sanctus breed in New Zealand. It is also locally known for its Maori name Kotare.

According to Polynesian legend, the Sacred Kingfisher is believed to have power over the ocean and waves. It is a vividly coloured bird that can be easily spotted in the wild with a size of 24cm. It’s distinct green and blue colours, beige to yellowish underparts and the large, dark, broad bill makes it one of the most attractive bird in the wildlife. Lucky for us at The Rock NZ, the sacred kingfishers sometimes grace us with their beauty in the Bay of Islands.  

Where can you find the Kotare?

Kotare is the native kingfisher of New Zealand so it is common throughout the country. It is also seen in neighbouring countries like Australia, Indonesia and much of the northern Polynesian Islands. They tend to migrate to different places during the winter and breeding season.  Kotare inhabits estuaries, forests and rocky coastlines where there is a source of water. You'll often find them perched on powerlines, branches or rocks near the water. Water is vital for their survival as the main source of their food. During most of our island stopovers, The Rock Crew always keep an eye out for any Kotare encounters in the Bay of Islands. 

What does Kotare usually eat? 

Sacred Kingfishers don’t necessarilly only feed on fish. Their diet depends on their location and whatever terrestrial aquatic vertebrate and invertebrate are available. Such as earthworms, insects, beetles, crustaceans, baby crabs and fish. Kingfishers can dive up to 2 cm to snatch their prey in the water. The important thing is for them to have a post to perch where they can observe their prey. 

Fortunately, the Kotare population has been increasing and no alarming decrease in its population has been reported. We can enjoy observing the beautiful all throughout New Zealand. Here at The Rock Adventure Cruise, we are committed to preserving nature’s beauty and protecting the environment for our future generations to enjoy. Find out about the Tiaki promise our commitment to protect the homeland and be part of it. Read more about it here

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