Art. XIII.—Notes on the Birds of the Little Barrier Island.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, July 6, 1868.]
During last December I spent four days on the eastern side of the Little Barrier Island, and noticed the following birds.*
Another bird also lives on the island, apparently in the cliffs, and comes out only in the evenings. Its cry is a peculiar kind of laugh, in a descending scale, and is very ridiculous to hear. I saw it twice by the light of a fire. It appeared to be rather larger than a More-pork, (Athene Novœ Zelandiœ), with rounded wings, and soft flight like an owl or a parrot. It was light-coloured underneath; I did not see the back; what kind of bird it was I cannot even conjecture.
It will be noticed that the Kiwi (Apteryx Mantelli) does not appear in this list; and, notwithstanding current reports, I am inclined to think that it is either very rare, or else does not exist on the island. I was accompanied by a very good dog, but we neither heard nor saw a Kiwi, during the whole time we were on the island. I am also informed by Mr. Barstow, of the Bay of Islands, that in 1842, Captain Wood, of H.M.S. “Tortoise,” spent three or four days on the Little Barrier with the express object of catching Kiwis, but did not see one. Sir George Grey told me, that he also spent a day or two on the southwest side of the island, looking for Kiwis, but found none.