- It’s flightless
- It’s critically endangered
- It’s the world’s largest rail
- It’s last wild refuge is in a remote mountain range of Fiordland National Park
- It’s a New Zealand conservation icon
Survivors from Primeval New Zealand
“The takahē rests comfortably in the company of giant elephant birds and moa as one of the world’s most strange and wonderful avian beasts”
John W Fitzpatrick, The Takahē (2001)
The takahē is a relic of a time when gigantic Moa roamed the forests and grasslands, and eagles with a 4 metre wingspan hunted them. Since humans arrived in New Zealand, the takahē has clung to existence – but only just.
It has teetered on the brink of extinction and was twice thought lost forever.
The takahē can still only be found in New Zealand. Its a history-making bird whose rediscovery in 1948, in the remote mountains of Fiordland, sparked world-wide media interest.
Encountering a takahē for the first time, you may be struck by its pre-historic looks and movement.
Takahē or Pukeko?
It’s not a pukeko on steroids, though it shares a common ancestor.
- Everything is bigger on a takahē! Big body, gigantic beak, stout legs and enormous feet.
- Adult takahē are about the size of a very large hen, 50 cm high and can weigh over 3 kg.
- Whilst the pukeko is blue and black, the takahē is like a paua shell with legs. Its feathers range from
iridescent blue on its head, neck and breast, through peacock blue and turquoise to olive green
along its wings and back.
- The takahē has wings, but they are only used for courting and display.
- In captivity takahē have lived for over 25 years but their lifespan in the wild is much shorter.
Discover more about this remarkable bird…
Listen to the takahē’ single call.
For even further reading see what’s in the Takahē Recovery Library.