Aucklanders are being asked to keep their eyes peeled for a cockatoo that's escaped from the zoo.

Late yesterday, Auckland Zoo bird-keepers were carrying out a free-flight training session with young male red-tail black cockatoo Mabo, just outside his enclosure, when he fled his minders.

The young bird had been "doing brilliantly" in what was just his second session outside, before a group of gulls mobbed and spooked him, the zoo reported on social media.

"As a result, he flew up into the trees. He's very bonded to his keepers, was talking to them and made several unsuccessful attempts to get down; he hasn't quite yet mastered his ability to fly low."

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People who encounter Mabo are asked not to try to catch him, but to phone zoo staff. Photo / Facebook
People who encounter Mabo are asked not to try to catch him, but to phone zoo staff. Photo / Facebook

The keepers stayed with him until it was dark and he'd fallen asleep and were back before first-light, but he'd gone.

"This morning through the SPCA, we were made aware of a sighting in Birkdale on the North Shore and immediately rushed out, but by the time our keepers got there he had flown off," Auckland Zoo reported.

"Mabo will be missing his mate and keepers and we would love to bring him home as soon as we can.":

Red-tail black cockatoo males were known for the large scarlet bands on their tails.
People who encounter Mabo are asked not to try to catch him, but phone zoo staff on 027 209 8560.