On his talk show “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver introduces pūteketeke as “a strange bird vomiting with a colorful neck rug.” The bird is known to eat hundreds of feathers and then spit them out. The pūteketeke is one of 75 birds in the annual online election. However, according to the organisation, this year’s winner will also be declared the ‘Bird of the Century’ because the organization behind the election, Forest & Bird, is celebrating its centenary this year.
Oliver wants the bird to win the election in “historic fashion”, so he begins a “shockingly aggressive” election campaign for the “Master of Wings”. Billboards have been placed in New Zealand, Japan, France, India and the US state of Wisconsin. “Help us crown a real king” is the campaign slogan in Britain. A plane carrying pūteketeke advertisements also flew along the beaches of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. “This is the essence of democracy: America interferes in foreign elections,” Oliver joked on his TV show, where a meter-high version of pūteketeke was also set up.
Previous editions of the competition have also caused controversy. For example, in 2020, a fraudulent vote was held to help the little gray kiwi win, but the rock wren ultimately won. Two years ago, the bat walked away with the win, and last year the famous win was allowed kakapoIt is a flightless parrot that is active mainly at night, and will not participate “to give less attractive candidates a chance.”