Disrupted breeding season comes to an end

Author: Kathryn JonesDate:07/07/23

The tīeke breeding season started with a translocation of four eggs from nest boxes to Auckland Zoo. The zoo has a permit to take a small number of tīeke from the Island to supplement the captive population.

Taking eggs and raising chicks in captivity has several advantages over moving adult birds, not least the lack of stress to the birds.

The curator of birds at the zoo, Juan Cornejo, visited the Island in October and collected fertile eggs from three boxes. At least one fertile egg was left in each so the parent birds still had the opportunity to raise a chick.

At the zoo, one of the chicks had difficulty hatching and died shortly afterwards, but the other three, a female and two males, thrived under the care of zoo staff – 18 feeds per day at first! They are now healthy juveniles and will eventually be on display in the forest aviary.

TīekePhoto Credit: Kathryn JonesHeading Photo Credit: Martin Sanders

On the Island, monitoring was disrupted by wild weather and consequent ferry cancellations, but it was clear that nest box use and rates of success and failure followed the pattern of the last few years.

Summery of tīeke nesting attempts in nest boxes for the past five seasons. The data was collected by the volunteers of Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi

Nesting attempts were made in 22 of the 151 boxes, and 10 of these failed at egg stage (the eggs failed to hatch or were broken). As far as we can tell, none failed at chick stage and at least one chick fledged from each of the remaining 12 boxes, including two of those from which eggs had been translocated in October.

TīekeLeft Photo Credit: Martin SandersRight Photo Credit: Geoff Beals