2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

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..

Spotless Crake

Scientific name:

 Porzana tabuensis plumbea

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 Native. At risk - relict

Mainland status:

 Locally common in some swamps in N.I.

Size:  20cm, 45g




 August - February


 Invertebrates, seeds, fruit

This small, dark, secretive rail is more often heard than seen. The head and underparts are leaden grey with a bluish sheen, the upperparts are dark brown and the undertail is black barred with white. The short bill is black, the eye and eye-ring are red and the legs reddish in colour. The varied calls include a sharp ‘pit-pit’, a repeated ‘book’ and a distinctive rolling ‘purrrrrrrr’.

The spotless crake eats worms, snails, spiders, tadpoles, insect larvae and seeds of aquatic plants and fallen fruits.

Breeding is from August to February. The bulky, cup-shaped nest is composed of grasses and sedge. On the mainland it is sited half to a metre above the water but on islands is often under dense cover on the ground. The clutch of 2 – 4 eggs is incubated by both parents for 20 – 22 days. The black downed chicks leave the nest within two days and are looked after by both parents until they reach adult size at 4 – 5 months old.

On Tiritiri Matangi numbers of spotless crake vary, probably depending on the conditions. They are often heard and sometimes seen around the edges of the ponds, but can occur almost anywhere in the bush areas.

Discover more about spotless crake at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Kay Milton ©

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