Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..


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.