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Birds of Prey

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Explore Wingspan, New Zealand’s only Bird of Prey Centre. Discover more about the secret life of raptors and meet a friendly, captive-reared ruru. These birds are successful predators and are often heard rather than seen.

Photo of a ruru or morepork.

Watch the video to see Whisper the ruru (morepork). These nocturnal birds are the only remaining native owls in Aotearoa!

Ponder this 

Consider the following questions. You could talk about your ideas with your favourite people at home or online.

  1. How do you think captive rearing has affected Whisper?
  2. What adaptations or features does Whisper have and how do they help her survive?
  3. What other native birds are nocturnal? What adaptations do they have?

Activities

Venture out into your backyard after dark. Can you hear ruru at night? What other animals can you hear?

Try making and decorating a ruru bookmark. Use this template from Wingspan.

Follow the KCC how to draw series and draw a ruru with Adele Jackson.

Ruru nest in tree cavities and in holes in the ground. If they make nests on the ground, ruru are exposed to introduced predators like cats and stoats. Sometimes there are not enough large trees for ruru to nest in. You could put up a nest box in your garden to give them a safe place to breed. Follow these instructions to make a nest box or design your own.

Share your bookmark or nest box. Ask a parent to post a picture on Instagram. Use the hashtags #learnztrips, #mynzruru, or email a photo to LEARNZtrips to tell us about your discoveries. 

We’ll share some of your images on our Instagram space @learnztrips.

Want to know more?

New Zealand has only four species of raptor; kārearea (New Zealand falcon), kāhu (Australasian harrier), ruru, and most recently the Australian barn owl. Discover more about the importance of these birds and see how Wingspan cares for sick, injured, and orphaned raptors.

Please Note: You’ll need to login to these spaces. The username is learnz and the password is lockdown (all lowercase).