A bird known for its romantic yet blood-thirsty nature has won the title of 2012 Bird of the Year in a Forest & Bird poll.
The karearea, or New Zealand falcon, won 1261 votes in the conservation organisation’s eighth annual poll, followed by the kokako in second place with 965 votes and the ruru with 663 votes.
Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell says the karearea is a great romantic, with birds going to great lengths to woo each other.
“During courtship, couples will perform an aerial ballet, swapping food mid-flight, performing mock attack dives or spiralling gracefully landward.”
But the bird also is a skilled hunter, able to kill prey larger than itself with a lethal bite to the neck.