Pukeko are a large, common rail species found throughout New Zealand. Pukeko are common around wetlands, however their habitat is not limited to wetlands, and they will also feed on pasture. Unlike their flightless relative the Takahe, pukeko are good flyers, although they prefer to spend most of their time on the ground. Pukeko are one of the few native birds that may be hunted, although a licence is required. Pukeko can be destructive to pasture, tree seedlings and vegetable crops, and in some cases they may predate the young of other birds, although they are mostly herbivorous.
Adult pukeko have few natural predators, and have the capacity to defend themselves even against introduced predators such as cats and stoats.
The example pictured was observed at the Taylor Dam.
Location: Latitude: -41.573059 Longitude: 173.931686"
Image Date: 22/5/2015
Photographer: Christopher Cookson