Morepork, close up of head and shoulders
The morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae) is New Zealand’s only surviving native owl.
Often heard in the forest at dusk and throughout the night, the morepork is known for its haunting, melancholic call. Its Maori name, ruru, reflects this call.
The much larger laughing owl became extinct in the 20th century. The German or little owl is a smaller species often found on open and lightly wooded farmland. It was introduced to New Zealand between 1906 and 1910 to try to control smaller introduced birds.
In Maori tradition the piercing ‘yelp’ call of the morepork was thought to be an ominous forewarning of bad news or events. Learn more facts about morepork in this section.
Morepork are still considered to be relatively common but it is likely that numbers are in gradual decline due to predation and loss of habitat.
DOC is testing methods for measuring the population of morepork. Read this section to find out what this involves.
There are many ways you can help morepork including planting trees and controlling predators.
Meet Whisper. This little local is learning to live with the help of Wingspan in Rotorua. Watch the video to see how you can help our only native owls.
Advice for attracting birds to your garden if you are designing a new garden or developing an existing one.
Listen to or download a recording of morepork/ruru song.
New Zealand Birds Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand birds
DOC's 24 hour emergency hotline:
0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)
Call to report sick or injured wildlife, and whale or dolphin strandings.