Chook of the Yr: Uncommon anti-social penguin wins New Zealand ballot

A rare yellow-eyed penguin that won New Zealand's bird of the year awardPicture copyright
Getty Pictures

Picture caption

The hoiho received with 12,022 out of the 43,460 votes solid and verified


An endangered yellow-eyed penguin has received New Zealand’s coveted Chook of the Yr competitors after two weeks of intense campaigning.

The hoiho noticed off greater than 5 rivals to turn out to be the primary penguin to win the annual honour in its 14-year historical past.


With solely 225 pairs left on New Zealand’s mainland, the hoiho is claimed to be the rarest penguin on the earth.

Consultants say the hoiho is an anti-social fowl that communicates with a high-pitched scream.

The fowl received 12,022 out of the 43,460 votes solid and verified, organisers stated.

Forest & Chook, the conservation group that runs the ballot, stated the hoiho’s victory over the kakapo and final yr’s winner, the kereru, was a “large upset”.

“It was so shut between these superb endangered birds, it was not possible to foretell a winner for many of the competitors,” stated Megan Hubscher, a spokeswoman for the group.

The penguin’s bid attracted help from two mayors throughout a marketing campaign marked by “memes and trash-talk”, Ms Hubscher stated.

The vote attracts curiosity nationwide, with marketing campaign groups renting billboard area and creating promotional movies to construct help.

Underlining the importance of the outcome, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the penguin’s victory at her weekly press convention.

“I really feel inclined to congratulate the winner given it is the primary seabird that is taken out high honours,” she stated on Monday.

Ms Ardern expressed hope that the hoiho’s victory would pave the way in which for “a future win for the black petrel”, one other seabird she has proven “long-standing dedication and help for”.

There aren’t any studies of voting irregularities this yr after fixing scandals marred earlier polls.

Earlier winners embody the kereru, a sort of wooden pigeon, in 2018 and the kea, a species of enormous parrot, in 2017.

“Chook of the Yr has turn out to be a nationwide ardour, and that is due to everybody relentlessly and ruthlessly selling their favorite fowl’s weirdest qualities to the globe,” Ms Hubscher stated.

What sort of fowl is it?

A tall, portly penguin with a pale yellow band of feathers on its head, the hoiho stands round 65cm (25in) tall and weighs round 5kg (11lb).

Though largely silent, the birds do shriek in a high-pitched tone once they mate.

Picture copyright
Getty Pictures

Picture caption

The hoiho is a tall, portly penguin with a pale yellow band of feathers on its head

Consultants concern the penguins are liable to turning into extinct until motion is taken to preserve their habitat.

Hoiho face quite a few threats, together with warming oceans resulting in modifications in meals availability, backside trawling damaging feeding grounds, being caught in fishing nets, and disturbance from people, Forest & Chook stated.

NZ Chook of the Yr 2019

The highest 5*

For this yr’s ballot, the organiser used a single transferable voting (STV) system, the place voters rank their 5 favorite native birds.

Underneath STV, if one candidate’s vote-share exceeds a sure threshold, their surplus votes are transferred to different candidates, which is why the black robin rose from fifth to 3rd within the closing tally.

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