Freshwater Birds 2


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 SHOVELER DUCK / Kuruwhengi

 NZ Shoveler Duck     Anus rhynchotis     FAMILY: Anatidae

Endemic to NZ with a closely related race in Australia.   Protected, but may be hunted in the open season.  

This duck is smaller than the Mallard, and has a prominent wide bill which it holds pointed downwards when

 swimming.   Found throughout NZ on lakes and lagoons near the coast.   They feed by dabbling.   Breeding is from October

to January.   The nest is usually of grasses and lined with down, near water and among long grass in open areas.  

 The eggs, 10-13, are a pale creamy-white.   The female only incubates with the

 male assisting in the rearing of the chicks.


BLUE DUCK / Whio  

Blue Duck     Hymenolaimus malacoryhynchos     FAMILY:   Anatidae

Endemic and fully protected.   Smaller than the Mallard Duck with a prominent narrow bill which is pinky-white with

a black edge to the tip.   Blue Duck are dove-grey in colour, heavily spotted with chestnut on the breast.

The male has a whistling call while the female a gutteral rattle.   They are seen singly or in family groups.

Found in the North and South Islands, but they are now restricted to mountain and bush streams in undeveloped areas.  

 They feed on insect larvae by diving.   Breeding is from August to November and the nest is on the ground under thick

vegetation or in holes close to a stream.   The nest is lined with down, and the eggs, 4-9, are creamy-white.



Brown Teal     Anus aucklandica    FAMILY: Anatidae

Endemic, with a related flightless sub-species in the Auckland Islands.   Fully protected.   This is a small, chubby duck,

 generally warm brown in colour.   The male is darker than the female, who lacks the white neck ring

 and flank patch which the male has.   It has a strong flight but flies infrequently.   Brown Teal were one of the most

 common of the ducks last century but is now rare.   It is  now being reintroduced in suitable areas from hand reared stock.  

It is now found on Great Barrier Island, North Auckland, Stewart Island  and Fiordland.   Brown Teal inhabit estuaries

 and slow-flowing rivers in the north  and sheltered coasts in the south.   They feed by dabbling,  on snails, plants and

water insects.   Breeding is from July to October and the nest of grasses, lined with down,  is well concealed near water.  

 The eggs, 5-7, are cream.




Marsh Crake / Koitareke      Porzana pusilla     FAMILY:  Porzana pusilla

Native to NZ with five similar sub-species in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.   This is the smallest of the

NZ rails, skulking in cover and rarely taking flight.   It is widely spread throughout the main islands, but is

rarely seen.   Marsh Crake inhabit fresh and salt water swamps  and the reedy banks of rivers and lakes.

They feed on green vegetation and seeds, molluscs and insects.   Breeding is from October to January and the nest,

a flat cup of rushes,  is built close to water.   The eggs, 4-8, are olive-brown, sometimes with dark flecks.


Spotless Crake / Puweto    Porzana tabuensis     FAMILY:  Rallidae

Native with three sub-species in the SW Pacific and Australia.   Fully protected.   Dark all over, this bird skulks in cover

 and rarely flies.  It swims and dives readily.   Spotless Crake are distributed throughout NZ and some outlying islands.

It is found in swamps and marshy areas like where there is Raupo growing, but in forests on islands.   Their secretive nature

 means that they are seldom seen but they will come to recorded calls.   Food is the same as the Marsh Crake.

Breeding is from October to December.   The nest is bulky, loose woven of sedge and grass, with several play nests

in the close vicinity.   The eggs, 2-3, are usually pinky-cream, blotched and spotted all over with brown.


BANDED RAIL / Mohu-pereru

Banded Rail     Rallus phillipensis     FAMILY:  Rallidae

Native  and also found in SE Asia, Australia and the SW Pacific.   Fully protected.   This secretive bird runs swiftly

and is rarely seen flying.   They are found throughout NZ and although common they are rarely seen.

They inhabit swamps, lake edges, salt marsh lagoons, mangroves, or drainage ditches with cover.   They feed

on insects, worms, snails and seeds.    Breeding is from September to February and the nest of grasses and rushes

 is well hidden near or above water.   The eggs, 4-7, are pale pinkish-buff with scattered reddish-brown or

purplish-grey spots and blotches.



Pukeko     Porphyrio porphyrio     FAMILY: Rallidae

Native and also found in Australia.   Pukeko are protected but may be hunted in the open season in some

areas.   They are bright blue and black with white undertail coverts.   They often flick their tail and run fast.   They are

reluctant fliers, flying with their  heavy legs dangling.   They are found throughout NZ in marshes, swamps, lakes,

lagoons, and river banks with raupo and scrub for cover.   They are often seen near wetlands and feed on a wide

 variety of plant matter, insects, snails and sometimes eggs of other ground nesting birds.   Breeding is from

August to March and the nest is a large structure in swamp vegetation.   The eggs, 4-8, are usually reddish-cream with

variable red-brown spots and purple blotches all over.



Australian Coot     Fulica atra    FAMILY: Rallidae   

  Native, staggling from Australia since 1875 with a large increase

and subsequent breeding in the 1950s.   Fully protected.   Lightly smaller than the Pukeko, this bird is seen mainly on water.

   They are all black with a white bill and frontal shield and a jerking head when swimming.   Immature birds are grey with

a dark bill.   Found in scattered pockets through both islands, breeding in Otago, Canterbury, Wanganui, Wairarapa, Rotorua

and Hawke's Bay.   They feed by diving, on insects, snails and water plants.   Breeding is from October to December.

The nest, made of sticks and dead rushes, neatly lined with raupo leaves, is large and well hidden in swamp vegetation.

The eggs, 5-7, are brownish-cream, minutely dotted with black spots all over.


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