01 May 2009


TakaheWe'd searched earlier in the day with no success, and thought we'd miss seeing one of Kapiti Island's takahe. But shortly before the boat was to arrive, this bird appeared, feeding and stepping slowly in the long grass close to the track. This was one of the few photos I managed in which the bird's head wasn't partly obscured by grass leaves or stems. I suppose it adds context — they feed on grasses, holding them in one claw and shearing them with that massive bill — but unfortunately these aren't the native snow tussocks that form the natural food of takahe. They're introduced grasses.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


the watercats said...

wow!.. That's a birdy! Fantastic!

Lesley said...

What an interesting texture to the feathers. And that beak has done a lot of work!

I remember the excitement when the supposedly extinct takahe was discovered not to be extinct after all.

Zhoen said...

Makes me think of some heavy construction equipment, like a steam shovel of old.

pohanginapete said...

Watercats, as Lesley points out, there was great excitement when takahe, thought to be extinct, were rediscovered in a remote, mountainous area of south-western New Zealand. The birds are remarkable, and so is their story.

Lesley, perhaps the feather texture is partly associated with their inability to fly?

Zhoen, it does indeed have that appearance, although it functions much more dexterously: more like a well-handled set of blade shears than earth-moving machinery.