Nine possible sightings since 1990 have convinced some authorities there's a chance the South Island kokako may not be extinct.
The orange-wattled kokako - a separate species from the endangered blue-wattled North Island kokako - was declared extinct in 2007 as there were no accepted sightings since 1967.
But an apparent sighting made by Len Turner and Peter Rudolf near the West Coast town of Reefton in 2007 has been accepted by the Ornithological Society's records appraisal committee.
It, along with other reported sightings, has convinced an expert panel managing New Zealand's Threat Classification System (NZTCS) to change the bird's status from extinct to "data deficient", Forest & Bird said.
The Reefton sighting was one of 11 possible sightings submitted to the Ornithological Society.
Two others were considered sightings of a tame North Island kokako, while the others, from the Marlborough Sounds, northwest Nelson, the West Coast and the Catlins in south Otago, were considered "possible" or "probable" sightings.
Forest & Bird has funded a project by one of its members, Alec Milne, to find out if it still exists and its advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell says it would be fantastic if the project's work confirmed the kokako was still alive.
"We can't say that the South Island kokako is still alive. But this is the best sign yet that it is," he said.
Mr Hackwell said the biggest threat to the birds if they were still alive would be rats, stoats and possums, and he called for more pest control work in the South Island.
source: newshub archive