Bird of the Year title within falcon's talons
The noble New Zealand falcon, or karearea, is the Clint Eastwood or Bruce Willis of the avian world while other birds are like "Katherine Mansfield coughing into her journal,'' says comedian Raybon Kan.
Kan is celebrating what appears to be certain victory for the falcon in this year's Forest & Bird Bird of the Year competition.
Although special votes have yet to be counted, Kan's karearea tallied 1249 out of 10170 votes when the polls closed at 8.55am.
''It's well earned - the people have spoken.''
The karearea can be spotted in the hills above Naenae and Eastbourne, or at Staglands, which has a pair.
It is already famous for fronting the $20 note and is also known for its airborne agility.
With a maximum speed of 230kmh, the New Zealand falcon can catch its prey mid-flight - although earlier this month a karearea was snapped on a rooftop in the Wellington suburb of Berhampore feasting on a feckless pigeon in what a Wellington City Council spokesman described as a victory for pest control.
Columnist and speech-writer David Slack campaigned for the kokako, which tallied 962 of 10170 votes, making the songbird the karearea's nearest rival.
Kan was typically unforgiving in his appraisal of the silver medallist.
''It just represents birds that are more of a stuffed toy, or more of a busker than the leader with libido - that's what the karearea is. You can either be just standing on the street corner hoping for a handout because of your song or you can be a fighter pilot doing aerobatics and striking fear into the hearts of criminals.''
The Dominion Post