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Tags Current Affairs

Bird of the year award controversy in New Zealand

Date: 08 November 2021 Tags: Biodiversity


The annual Bird of The Year award of New Zealand has been won by Pekapeka-tou-roa, a native species of bat. Awarding a mammal with bird of the year tile has caused controversy.



The award is hosted by an independent conservation organization called Forest and Bird.



  • The Pekapeka-tou-roa is one of the two land mammals of New Zealand. It was considered for the award as it faces the same problems as native birds.

  • The problems currently faced by the birds include predators, habitat loss and climate change. This was the first time a mammal was allowed to enter the competition.



Many people have expressed shock that the Bird of the year award has been won by a mammal. They have mockingly said that the next year’s award may be won by a fish or snake.


Significance of award

The award may be able to raise awareness about the species and their critically endangered status. It will allow greater understanding of the mammal.


New Zealand long-tailed bat

  • The species of bat known as Pekapeka-tou-roa is one of the two surviving species endemic to New Zealand.

  • They can be found throughout the mainland and also on some offshore islands nearby. The species is small but has a long tail.

  • The long tail of the species separates it from New Zealand’s other land mammal, the short-tailed bat.

  • Their protection status range from ‘nationally vulnerable’ to ‘recovering’. Without protection, they are in danger of extinction.

  • These species are able to fly and hunt using echolocation calls. Their main food includes moths, mosquitoes and other insects. They face threat from introduced predators and habitat loss.


Bird of the year award

  • The award is given by Forest and Bird, an organization working towards conserving land, fresh water, oceans, climate and economy of New Zealand.

  • The Bird of the year competition was introduced to raise awareness regarding New Zealand’s native wildlife, their habitats and the threat they face. 

  • Every voter has to choose top 5 birds out of the listed birds every year using their email id. The results are then tallied to arrive at conclusion. The list of birds change every year.

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