North I, New Zealand; possibly occurred also in extreme N part of South I. Within North I, apparently restricted to certain areas, as it appears to have required large tracts of primary native forest.
Cause of extinction remains unclear but was probably primarily habitat loss, especially loss of dead trees (on which this species depended for extraction of beetle larvae). It is likely that hunting, both by the indigenous population—the species was sacred to the Maoris—and by Europeans, played a part. Disease has also been implicated: exotic ticks were reported from Huias, possibly deriving from introduced Common Mynas (Acridotheres tristis). Finally, alien predators—mustelids (ferrets, stoats, weasels) and rats—are likely to have taken their toll of this largely terrestrial species. The last confirmed record was in 1907.