You see this large bird soaring above the paddocks, perhaps ‘squeaking’ sometimes. Or maybe it flies up in front of your car, from a dead rabbit on the road. He aha tērā? What is that?
Photo by Jan Jordan. Used with permission.
Answer: it’s a kāhu, swamp harrier:
Identification: Length: 50 - 60 cm; Weight: 650 g (male), 850 g (female)
Similar species: New Zealand falcon, Black kite
A large long-legged harrier with long taloned toes, long pointed wings, prominent facial disks and a strongly hooked bill. Adults have a tawny-brown back, pale cream streaked breast, yellow eyes, yellow cere and a creamy white rump visible in flight; juvenile and immature birds are uniformly dark chocolate brown.