30th Birthday Dinner

Date posted: 06-Sep-2018

Please join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Suppo..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KŌKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Paradise Shelduck

Scientific name:

 Tadorna variegata

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 Endemic. Not threatened

Mainland status:



 63cm, 1700g (male) 1400g (female)


 Average 2.3 yrs, but oldest banded bird lived to 23 years. Officially classed as game birds under the Wildlife Act.


 August - December


 Grass, seeds, aquatic vegetation

Paradise shelduck, male - photographer: Max McRaeA large goose-like duck with orange-chestnut undertail and tertials. The male has a black head with a greenish gloss and a dark grey finely barred black body. Some males have white feathering around their eyes. The female has a white head, and a bright orange-chestnut body, obscured by darker fine barring in eclipse plumage. In flight both have prominent white patches on the upper wings.

They are very vocal; the male call is a ‘zonk-zonk…’, and the female call a shrill ‘zeek-zeek’. They are usually seen in pairs or flocks on farmland, lakes, ponds and high-country riverbeds. All birds gather at traditional moult sites in December–February, and disperse again in March–April.

'DAPHNE' - photographer: Simon FordhamBreeding is between August and December and birds pair for life. The nest of grasses, lined with down feathers is usually built in hollow logs, burrows, rock crevices, under exposed tree roots, or in a tree hole up to 25 metres above the ground. The clutch of 5–15 white eggs is incubated by the female for 30-35 days. Once the eggs have hatched, the chicks are led to open water, which can be over a kilometre away; they fledge at about eight weeks old.

Paradise Shelduck graze on grass and clover, grass seeds and weed seeds, and stubble or standing crops of peas or grain, causing damage to young pasture, hay and grain crops. They also eat aquatic vegetation.

There is at least one pair of paradise shelducks on Tiri, usually in the vicinity of the Ranger's house and bunkhouse. Another pair often frequents the north end of the Island near the Silvester Wetlands. Unfortunately, although they often hatch 2-3 broods per year, they hardly ever manage to rear the chicks beyond the first two or three weeks. The large numbers of pūkeko, which are often aggressive towards the ducklings, are probably to blame for this.

Find out more about paradise shelduck at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by: Max McRae © (above right, male paradise shelduck), Simon Fordham © (left, female paradise shelduck) and Kay Milton © (right, pair of paradise shelduck).

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.