In New Zealand, a bird known as the Pūteketeke or the ‘puking’ bird has been named the Bird of the Century, winning a public poll with over 290,000 votes. This victory, supported by comedian John Oliver, highlights the bird’s unique features, adorable parenting style, and its tendency to “puke.” The annual competition, started in 2005, aims to raise awareness about New Zealand’s native birds, many of which are at risk due to habitat loss. John Oliver’s influential campaign caused online voting systems to crash, emphasizing the significance of supporting threatened species like the pūteketeke, whose numbers are gradually increasing. Recognized for its distinctive black and white feathers, this water bird faced near-extinction in the 19th century and remains under threat today, with conservation efforts crucial for its survival.

Comedian John Oliver successfully campaigned for the Pūteketeke to be named the Bird of the Century in New Zealand’s annual event, usually called Bird of the Year. The competition, renamed for its centennial, faced challenges when Oliver exploited a loophole, allowing anyone with a valid email address to vote, causing a two-day delay in announcing the winner due to overwhelming foreign interference. Oliver’s humorous campaign, featuring billboards in various cities, a plane banner, and a bird costume on a TV show, drew attention to the conservation of native birds in New Zealand. The Pūteketeke’s victory, with over 350,000 verified votes, showcased the success of Oliver’s “high-powered” campaign and the importance of raising awareness about threatened species, despite past controversies in the competition.