The New Zealand falcon, or karearea, has been crowned Bird of the Year in Forest & Bird's eighth annual poll.
The karearea won 1261 of the 10,292 votes cast winning over the kokako (965 votes) and the ruru (663 votes).
Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said as well as being a top predator that can reach speeds of up to 230kmh and catch prey mid-flight, the karearea was a great romantic.
"During courtship, couples will perform an aerial ballet, swapping food mid-flight, performing mock attack dives or spiralling gracefully landward."
The species is vulnerable to predation when nesting and is listed as "threatened".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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