Sorry, it's not the seagull.

And the Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2019 is…

Last year it was the devious magpie! But who has nabbed the title of Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2019? Sam Brooks has the result.

It’s been a fierce two days of votes, deep-seated resentment and zero campaigning. I’ve done the numbers, by which I mean I’ve looked at the votes, and counted them twice just in case. Wildly, this was a strangely close contest, with the two frontrunners taking a clear lead and literally ONE point separating the two.

However, there can be only one Dirtbag Bird of the Year, and 2019’s is:

Ladies and everybody else, your Dirtbag Bird of the Year 2019

Alfonso the Rooster, who may or may not have a crush on Jeff Lewis, the herbivore and bird keeper at Wellington Zoo. We have no choice but to love a bird that is always manicured, because that’s what genetics and evolution have done to him, and one that is as relentlessly motivated and perhaps as confused as Alfonso is. He is our Dirtbag this year, and we love him.

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As ever, there’s been some commentary because people have a lot of opinions and send in options. Here are some of them:

  • The bird that did this to my van.
  • The starlings using the sage bush as a toilet.
  • The pūkeko who keeps stealing the food of some chickens.
  • People have a lot of feelings about the weka, which is why I’m surprised it didn’t do better. They’ve even got this video celebrating/denouncing them:

  • Three years into this competition, many of you hate birds I’ve never heard of! I keep learning, but apparently not enough. As I said: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies on the other side of the door because otherwise they’ll fly in and once they’re in, you’ll never get them out.”

As ever, this incredibly mean-spirited contest is a gentle reminder to donate to the annual Bird of the Year contest. A lot of our native birds are in danger, it’s generally our fault, and if you’re inclined to care about this sort of stuff, as you well should be, this is a silly and effective call to action.

In the meantime, think like Alfonso and attack the heels of the man you may or may not be problematically in love with, because that’s the only way evolution has taught you how to express your feelings.


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