South Island Takahe

Rarest Bird I’ve ever seen

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The Takahe is a flightless bird, found on the South Island of New Zealand, and is the largest living member of the Rail family. They are about 1 1/2 feet tall and weigh 5-6 pounds. It is a rotund, powerful bird, with blue/green plumage, and a bright orange beak and legs. First seen by Europeans in 1847, only 4 specimens were ever captured. One of these was by a group of sealers who chased it down and took it with them on their schooner. After a few days they killed and cooked the bird, declaring it delicious. The skin later ended up in the hands of a palaeontogist. No additional birds were seen after 1898, and it was presumed extinct. However, it was dramatically rediscovered 50 years later in the Murchison Mountain Range, now part of Fiordlands National Park. There is a Takahe Recovery Program managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation. Birds have been captured and relocated to offshore islands that are free of predators, and other remote mainland sites. Chicks have also been reared in captivity to increase the population size, now estimated at 400 birds. This particular bird was photographed at Te Anau Wildlife Center in Fiordlands NP.

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I knew it was one of yours Scott great picture. Poor rascal needs something to eat!

Mike Warner

Thanks for sharing this rare species. Fascinating history, too.