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Pukeko (Porphyrio porphyrio)



The pukeko can be seen upstream of the mudflats in the wetland areas.

About the size of a hen, the pukeko has black head, back, and wings and blue underparts. The conspicuously red beak is heavy and has a frontal shield. When the tail is flicked, as it often is, the white undertail coverts can be seen. The pukeko has brown-red legs and long toes. It is shot as a gamebirds during the hunting season.


The pukeko winters in flocks that have distinct hierarchies upheld by ritual behaviours, and is territorial in groups, groups sometimes fighting on the territory boundaries. Mainly vegetarian, it also catches small animals and feeds on carrion. Although it is a swamp bird the opening up of pastures have led it to expand its habitat in wetter areas. It is a reluctant flier and prefers to run or swim.

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