NZ's favourite bird revealed

It has whiskers like a cat’s, burrows like a badger, kicks like a kangaroo and smells like a forest mushroom but the kiwi has been voted NZ's favourite bird.

The kiwi was named Bird of the Year for 2009 after receiving more than 1500 votes in a poll conducted by Forest & Bird.

Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell said the kiwi was "a biological oddity".

"It has whiskers like a cat’s, it burrows like a badger, it kicks like a kangaroo and it smells like a forest mushroom,” he said.

Hackwell said it's this unfortunate odour that makes kiwis an "easy lunch for predators like stoats, rats and possums".

More than 11,000 people took part in the month-long polling, and despite being ridiculed during the campaign as a "flightless national bore” the rare national bird came out on top.

Forest & Bird works with BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust to reverse the population decline of the kiwi.

Michelle Impey of BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust was pleased New Zealanders have chosen kiwi  as Bird of the Year.

“It's an amazing bird and represents a great nation of people," she said.

Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition has been running for five years. 

Past winners include the tui (2005), fantail (2006), grey warbler (2007) and the kakapo (2008).

Last year, the kiwi failed to even reach the top 10. 

The top 10 birds:

1.    Kiwi
2.    Rifleman
3.    Kea
4.    Kakapo 
5.    Tui
6.    Takahe
7.    Fernbird
8.    Fantail
9.    Karearea/native falcon
10.  Pukeko

HAVE YOUR SAY: Comment on this story below.

The Press