KOPEKA BIRD CAVE TOUR
ATIU CAVE TOUR
Atiu is surrounded by an ancient uplifted reef which is riddled with water caves, burial caves, bird caves, and unexplored caves. Anatakitaki cave in particular is the home of the Kopeka. A bird unique to Atiu, which is able to echo-locate in the dark cave to find its nest. The birds nearest living relative is on Guam.
Kopeka (pronounced coo-peak-a) or Atiu Swiflet is Atiu's signature bird, and just like a bat, it can navigate in pitch blackness. It builds its nest deep in between the stalactites of two caves on the island where it lives, and finds its way around using the echo of a unique clicking sound that it makes.
The Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust director, Gerald McCormack says it's now the country's most endangered endemic species. He estimates there are just 440 left in caves like these.