Mum and chick
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I've had the good luck of finding a Pukeko family. Here is just one of the shots I took today. They are very beautiful birds.|
Hope you enjoy it.
The New Zealand Pukeko is slightly larger than the Australian Swamphen of the same sub species (P.p. melanotus). The Pukeko is beginning to lose its ability to fly according to Britannica however it can still fly. Even now, when threatened it will often walk away from danger rather than fly. When it does fly, it has a rather clumsy take off and landing. It tends to prefer short distances. If it were not for humans and the introduced predators (eg. stoat, rat) the Pukeko would appear to have little need for wings and would possibly evolve to become heavier and perhaps more like the Takahe over millions of years. The Polynesian rat arrived with Polynesian settlers about 800 - 1000 years ago .
Foraging for food beside Lake Pupuke, Auckland, New Zealand
 Defence and Behaviour
It is a tough bird and seems very capable of fighting off attacks. The predators (mammals) arrived with humans over the past few hundred years. Strangely, Pukeko have thrived in an environment where the introduced predators such as cats, rats and stoats, are present (Brunin and Jamieson, 1995). They have been known to group together and shriek loudly to successfully defend nests during attacks by harrier hawks. They can often be heard in the night protecting their nests. They do not always overcome these predators and sometimes abandon the nest site. Pukeko live in groups of 3–12 individuals.
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Good find and a great shot of these Pukekos.
I haven't seen a post from you for a while,but I was down at the Cobden tip today and thought of you when I saw a white heron there.Hope to see more from you soon.