Critters of New Zealand: Weka

So we were in New Zealand last month, so I thought I would do a series on the wildlife we saw there, which is well-known for evolutionary oddities. So, wekas. The weka (Gallirallus australis) is a large flightless rail with four subspecies and a variety of buff, reddish, brown and black colour morphs. They are common in places but have a significantly contracted range and are classified as vulnerable. We saw western wekas throughout the West Coast of the South Island.

Being fearless, inquisitive birds, some had scoped out picnic grounds and carparks as viable territories, while others had claimed the walking tracks.

2013-11-10 14.19.57

Another weka, this time in captivity at the Willowbank Wildlife Sanctuary.

A buff Weka maybe? In a zoo, either way
A buff Weka maybe? In a zoo, either way

As a predator, conservation of wekas can be complicated as their prey includes other endangered species, such as the eggs of the Takahē, the endangered giant flightless coot.

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