Tail feathers were donated from a deceased ruru by the team at Wildbase in Palmerston North, with the feathers numbered so the vet team knew exactly where each one went.
The Zoo vets carefully trimmed the bird's damaged feathers, placed tiny needles into the feather shaft, and glued the new feathers in place.
The recovered and re-feathered ruru was successfully released back to where it was found.
Imping is possible to do in any bird, as long as you have the appropriate gear. You need feathers from the same species (or even a similarly sized species), and little splints to go into the feather shafts.
The size of the splints can vary in size, so a big bird may need splints the size of wooden chopsticks, whereas this ruru needed really small metal needles to hold the donor feathers in place.
Wellington Zoo is a Council-controlled organisation.
Read more about the great work happening at the Zoo's award-winning animal hospital and centre for native wildlife here.