Despite the Victory, New Zealand Bat Flies Away with Bird of the Year Award

Despite winning the Bird of the Year competition, New Zealand’s bat has been left empty-handed, with no prizes to show for their victory. The awards ceremony was held in Wellington on Saturday and it is unclear what happened after Australia’s emu won just one vote from a Kiwi judge. The awards are part of BirdLife’s 30th birthday celebrations.

We are sad about the emu, said Bird of the Year competition manager Kim Ellis, “But it is a bit like Christmas isn’t it? You don’t always get what you want. The emu was up against an owl in round two, which lost by a significant margin.

Ellis admitted that a number of awards could not be found last night, including the Most Promising Newcomer trophy. The judges were unable to find a suitable candidate for this award and it is believed to have been lost in the post during transit from Australia.

1. The New Zealand Falcon , which has continued its run at the top of the leaderboard, amassing enough votes to win on several occasions during 2013. At one point it had more than twice as many votes as the runner up, the Little Shag.

New Zealand Falcon (Credit: Jiri Rezac)

2. The Kererū, which has increased its vote count every year since the competition started in 2005, is still behind the Falcon with 776 votes so far this year.

3. The Little Shag ( Phalacrocorax melanoleucos ), which has proven to be a contender for several years, with close results against the Kererū in 2008 and then the New Zealand Falcon in 2010.

4. Not surprisingly the largest bird species on our list is also one of the most popular, with votes split among four separate eagles: The Haast’s Eagle ( Harpagornis moorei ), the White-Tailed Sea Eagle ( Haliaeetus albicilla ), the Wedge-Tailed Eagle ( Aquila audax ) and the Whangarei Native Forest Golden Eagle Project’s Harpagornis eagle, a contender for a 2014 comeback.

5. The Little Spotted Kiwi , despite being New Zealand’s smallest kiwi, is far from little in the Bird of the Year competition. It has so far gained 248 votes this year.

6. The North Island Robin ( Petroica longipes ), another familiar face in the top 10. This year it has received over 200 votes to date, winning round one with 62% of all votes.

7. The Kakī, the White Faced Heron and the Tūī are all tied in 8th place with just over 100 votes so far this year. The Kakī was once again up against it when it lost to its cousin, the North Island Kōkako , in round one.

8. The New Zealand Kōkako ( Callaeas cinerea wilsoni ) is one of three birds to have won the Bird of the Year competition, having taken the 2012 title. The other two are the Whio and the Takahe , which ar both doing well again this year.

9. After winning the 2012 Bird of the Year competition, the Whio was also named ‘most likely to succeed’ at this year’s awards ceremony.

10. The Takahe has been in the top five every year since 2005 and is arguably one of New Zealand’s most famous endemic birds .

1. Australian Emu 2. King Shag 3. Little Penguin 4. Pied Stilt 5. Crested Shag 6. Fairy Tern 7. European Starling 8. New Zealand Scaup 9. Pied Oystercatcher 10. Common Blackbird

New Zealand’s bat and owl were in competition for the Most Promising Newcomer category. The Little Spotted Kiwi, Tūī and Kākāriki are still in contention for Most Outstanding Achievement.