Keep an eye out for Takahē

A few takahē survive in Fiordland outside the Murchison Mountains Special Takahē Area.  Over the years hunters and trampers have reported encountering takahē near the Kepler, Milford and George Sound Tracks, in the Stuart Mountains and in the areas immediately to the west of the Murchison Mountains.

Visitors to these areas are encouraged to look out for feeding sign, droppings and feathers and to listen for the takahē’s distinguishing calls.

 

Where to look

Takahē can be found in a range of habitats, but the most likely place for people to encounter them is in alpine tussock grassland areas with sources of water, or on fertile fans where the tussock is growth is more prolific.  Valley floors with wetland grass clearings are also a likely spot to encounter takahē.

takahe-valley-Bruce-Fraser

 

What to look for;

Appearance

“It’s a massive pukeko” is a common reaction of those encountering takahē for the first time.  Takahē are similar to pukeko, but are far larger, stouter and more colourful and, unlike the pukeko,  they cannot fly.

 

Droppings

Takahē eat all day and leave alot of evidence in the form of droppings – up to 6m of it. Takahē droppings are usually very fibrous and sometimes you can even see seeds in them.  They vary in colour from bright green with white coatings, when very fresh, to a dried out light brown when older.  They are nearly always made up of long tubes of very fibrous material  – a bit like mini long, round hay bales!.

Droppings are usually found where ever takahē have fed. A pile of droppings in shrubs or under tussock may indicate a site where takahē have roosted for the night.

takahe-sign

 

Feeding Sign

The most characteristic sign of takahē feeding is the piles of tussock tillers they leave behind once they have snipped them off and eaten the juicy base.

When takahē have young chicks they will often feed on insects, leaving grubbed up earth where they have searched for the insects.

 

Feathers

Takahē feathers are usually deep blue or olive, though some may be tipped with a variety of colours from turquoise or brown to yellow green and red.

 

Calls

Takahē have a range of calls, of which the most likely to be heard are a takahē duet or a single bird calling.

Listen to a takahē calling

Report a takahē sighting

Essential information to record is date, location (GPS if possible) and number of birds seen or heard.

Any additional information about their age (chick, juvenile or adult), photos, or samples of takahē sign such as faeces, discarded feathers or feeding sign would also be useful.

To report a takahē sighting, please contact the Department of Conservation Takahē Team at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre

Takahē Recovery Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 29
Te Anau 9640
New Zealand
Phone: +64 3 249 0200
Email: takaherecovery@doc.org.nz

 

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