'Is this a joke': A bat has won bird of the year

Leah Panapa 01/11/2021

LISTEN: New Zealand's hotly contested Bird of the Year competition has announced this year's winner and it's not a bird.

The long-tailed bat has beaten the birds in their own competition with a significant lead by 3000 votes and the highest number of votes ever in the annual contest. 

New Zealand's batman Ben Paris, who is also a senior conservation advisor for Auckland Council, was shocked by the win.

"I'm completely surprised. I knew it was going to be controversial," he told Magic Talk.

"I didn't know that bats were going to be certainly so popular."

Bats are not a bird, obviously, and many have voiced their frustration with one texter asking, "is this a joke?"

But bats are New Zealand’s only native land mammal which wouldn't make for an exciting contest of their own.

"We can't have a New Zealand [land] mammal of the year because there would only be two bat species and that would be a really boring competition," Paris said.

This year is the first time the long-tailed bat (pekapeka-tou-roa) was included in the contest which ended on Sunday after a two week campaign.

Second place went to the kākāpō, titipounamu got third, fourth was the kea and the toroa was fifth. The rest of the top 10 was made up of the black robin (kakaruia), kororā, ruru, whio, and Rockhopper penguin.

Listen to the full interview with Ben Paris above.

Magic Talk | Mornings with Leah Panapa, weekdays from 9am.

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