Mohua have been spotted at Kellys Conservation Forest. Photo: Sabine Bernert.

Rare bird spotted at Kellys Forest


Kellys Conservation Forest will be opening its gates to the public this weekend – and if you’re lucky, you could catch a glimpse of one of our rarest birds.

There have been four sightings over the past few months of the yellowhead/mohua at the Enner Glynn forest, says owner Lindy Kelly.

The canary-like little bird with the bright yellow head is featured on New Zealand’s $100 note.

“Once one of the most abundant of our forest birds, it is now one the most threatened, and today, it is not believed to exist in the Top of the South by knowledgeable bird watchers,” says Lindy.

“There used to be populations in the Marlborough Sounds, but successive years of beech masting caused an explosion in the rat population which devastated the local mohua. They nest in holes in trees, making them very vulnerable to predators such as rats, possums, stoats, cats and even hedgehogs.”

Lindy says three people have now seen the mohua in the forest, and during the open day this Sunday, visitors will be asked to watch out for the mohua with a reward for the best photo taken of one.

The seven hectares of native forest tucked away in Enner Glynn is due to the work of Lindy and her family, who have been restoring it for the last 34 years.

The public will also be able to walk over the new bridge, built with the help of the NMIT trainee rangers.

Lindy says the forest is set to increase in size again this winter, with 8000 more trees to be planted and included in a DOC Covenant, bringing the size of the forest to over 10ha, with trails and picnic areas throughout.

The Kellys Conservation Forest open day is on this Sunday, 5 May from 1-4pm at 100 Enner Glynn Road. Entry is free.