Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

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

KĊŒKAKO 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..


Scientific name:

 Porphyrio melanotus

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 Native. Not threatened

Mainland status:



 51cm, 1050g (males) 850g (females)


 3-6 yrs.  Oldest recorded in NZ 9 years


 August - March


 Invertebrates, vegetation, frogs, small birds and eggs

Pukeko in water trough - photographer: Peter CrawThe pukeko is deep blue with a black head and upperparts. The white undertail is flicked with every step.  The bill and shield are scarlet, the eye red and the legs and feet are orange – red. 

Breeding is mainly between August and March. Nests are built on a tussock or rush clump, with the grass or rushes being beaten down into a platform. Territories are often occupied by groups and two or more females may lay in the same nest. The incubation of 23 – 27 days is shared by all. Each female lays 4 – 6 buff eggs with brown blotches at the larger end. All birds, including non–breeding helpers ( offspring from previous broods) help feed and care for the chicks.

The call is a loud unmusical screech and also a subdued musical ‘tuk – tuk’. Pukeko mainly feed on swamp and pasture vegetation. Also insects, spiders, frogs, small birds and eggs. Shoots are held in the foot like a parrot and stripped or macerated by the powerful bill.

Learn more about pukeko at New Zealand Birds Online.

Pukeko - photography by Dr Kerry RodgersPukeko - photographer: Peter Craw

Photography by:  Peter Craw © (top and bottom right) and Dr Kerry Rodgers © (left)

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