from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An owl of the genus Ninox inhabiting New Zealand and Australia.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The Australian crested goatsucker (Ægotheles Novæ-Hollandiæ). Also applied to other allied birds, as Podargus Cuveiri.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Tasmania, a kind of goatsucker, Podargus cuvieri.
  • n. In New Zealand, a kind of owl, Sceloglaux noræ-zelandiæ.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • One night we saw a morepork, which is a type of owl that got its name from its habit of continually calling for additional pigflesh.

    Last Chance to See

  • When the large and splendidly-built city of Dunedin, Otago, was a barren bush, haunted only by the "morepork" and the apteryx, Russell was humming with vitality, her harbour busy with fleets of ships, principally whalers, who found it the most convenient calling-place in the southern temperate zone.

    The Cruise of the Cachalot Round the World After Sperm Whales

  • The silence of night was only interrupted by the cries of the "morepork" in the minor key, like the mournful cuckoos of Europe.

    In Search of the Castaways

  • She took the morepork to the vet, who took care of it for a few days and then released it back into the wild, so the story had a happy ending.

    NZ has cool birds too

  • One of my friends, who lives up on a hill surrounded by bush, went out to get her newspaper one morning and found it, as usual, lying rolled up on the path up to the house, and next to it was a stunned morepork.

    NZ has cool birds too

  • I don't think he was aiming for the morepork, though.

    NZ has cool birds too

  • The silence of night was only interrupted by the cries of the “morepork” in the minor key, like the mournful cuckoos of Europe.

    In Search of the Castaways

  • There are many words found only in New Zealand English ( 'marae', 'morepork'), while other words ( 'mainland', 'mufti') have acquired individual meanings here which are either additional to or substitutions for those used in general English.

    Book & Print in New Zealand: A Guide to Print Culture in New Zealand

  • And then simultaneously arose all the choral songs of the wilderness, -- creatures whose voices are heard at night, -- the loud whir of the locusts, the musical boom of the bullfrog, the cuckoo note of the morepork, and, mournful amidst all those merrier sounds, the hoot of the owl, through the wizard she-oaks and the pale green of the gum-trees.

    A Strange Story — Volume 07

  • Hell, at night you may have heard a morepork call or even a Kiwi!

    Scoop Audio and Video Podcast


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  • "I remember what Aroha said about the kehua, the spirits of the homeless dead, and how they like to inhabit animals and birds: the screech of the morepork bird in the velvety Maori night is a case in point."

    Kehua! by Fay Weldon, p 40

    October 27, 2013

  • Done, mlady.

    January 5, 2011

  • Bilby, could you put brackets around ruru?

    January 5, 2011

  • There's a wind on the eastern side.

    Ghost Gums dance in the moonlit night.

    Mopoke mourns the racketeers.

    - Midnight Oil, Outside World

    June 11, 2008

  • I eagerly await your list of Australian terms for idiots. :-D

    Oh, and birds, too.

    January 1, 2008

  • This is the way it seems to me:

    morepork (NZ) = ruru (NZ) = boobook (Australia) = mopoke (Europe) = the bird Ninox novaeseelandiae and its cousin in Europe.

    I have never heard morepork used in Australia for birds or idiots. We have plenty of other colourful terms for idiots :-)

    December 31, 2007

  • Do you always begin conversations this way?


    February 18, 2007

  • You're sick, I'll humor you.

    uselessness, you don't happen to have six fingers on your right hand, do you?

    February 18, 2007

  • Yep. Definitely gonna watch that movie again. Whatever it's called. ;-)

    February 17, 2007

  • You mean you're still trying to win? I think that's the worst thing I've ever heard.

    February 17, 2007

  • phew.

    February 17, 2007

  • Dude. Read my comments.

    February 17, 2007

  • ahem. uselessness . . . you . . . you ARE a nerd, right?

    February 17, 2007

  • Oh, never heard of it. Is it good?

    February 17, 2007

  • Only the best movie ever, "The Princess Bride".

    February 17, 2007

  • What movie? Did I miss something?

    February 17, 2007

  • Damn, I have to watch that movie again!

    February 17, 2007

  • As you wish.

    February 17, 2007

  • Never get involved in a land war in Asia, uselessness. And never go in against a wordie when definitions are on the line. A-HAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHA! HA HA H--

    February 17, 2007

  • What does it mean? I'll go look it up, and see which of you is right... and which of you is dead.

    February 15, 2007

  • Seanahan... You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


    February 15, 2007

  • Oroboros, you're right. That lyrebird is one crazy avian. I can't stop watching that clip from the Attenborough series--even bought the DVD set in part because of it. A chainsaw, for crying out loud!

    February 15, 2007

  • inconceivable!

    February 15, 2007

  • I smell nothing.

    February 14, 2007

  • Smell that? Iocaine powder!

    February 14, 2007

  • According to the OED, Australia is entirely peopled with criminals!

    February 14, 2007

  • Pamelad, I thought the same thing. Stupid OED, what do they know about Australians anyway... Maybe it's historical or something--or else the OED people were frequently called moreporks and then told that it was a common term in Australia, jokingly, and didn't get it. ;)

    February 14, 2007

  • Here's a bird that probably could call 'morepork', judging by the repertoire of crazy warbles I've heard. Check out lyrebird.

    February 14, 2007

  • Thanks, pamelad. It's still fun to say, if you ask me. :-)

    February 14, 2007

  • Never, ever heard anyone in Australia call anyone a morepork, so as far as this being a term of abuse someone's kidding someone. Here's a poem that mentions mopokes.

    February 14, 2007

  • Now, would I kid you?

    I'd dearly love to hear this bird some day; wouldn't you? Meantime, we can call each other morepork ad nauseum. Not to mention goatsucker.

    February 14, 2007

  • You are kidding me.

    No... wait... the OED sez:

    Originally and chiefly: the boobook owl, Ninox novaeseelandiae. Also (Austral.) any of several other nocturnal birds, esp. the tawny frogmouth, Podargus strigoides.

    And, let's not forget:

    colloq. Austral. A stupid or tiresome person (freq. as a term of abuse).

    You, you morepork, you! You darned morepork frogmouth!

    February 14, 2007

  • An Australian crested nightjar, so named because of its cry.

    February 14, 2007