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Art Magnet - Pukeko Pair

Original price $4.90 - Original price $4.90
Original price $4.90
$4.90 - $4.90
Current price $4.90

Art Magnet - Pukeko Pair.


The pukeko is a widespread and easily recognisable bird that has benefitted greatly by the clearing of land for agriculture. In addition to its brilliant red frontal shield and deep violet breast plumage, the pukeko is interesting for having a complex social life. In many areas, pukeko live in permanent social groups and defend a shared territory that is used for both feeding and breeding. Social groups can have multiple breeding males and females, but all eggs are laid in a single nest and the group offspring are raised by all group members.


The pukeko is a large, conspicious rail found throughout New Zealand. The head, breast and throat are deep blue/violet, the back and wings are black, and the under-tail coverts are conspicuously white. The conical bright red bill is connected to a similarly coloured ‘frontal shield’ ornament covering the forehead, the eyes are also red. The legs and feet are orange, with long, slim toes. Females are smaller than males, but similarly coloured. Juveniles are similar to adults but duller, with black eyes and black bill and shield that turn to red around 3 months of age.

 Voice: pukeko are very vocal with a variety of calls. Territorial ‘crowing’ is the loudest and most frequently heard call. A variety of contact calls including ‘’n’yip’, ‘hiccup’ and ‘squawk’ are used between adults, and between adults and chicks. The defence call is a loud, shrill screech used when a harrier is nearby. A similar, but deeper and hoarser, call is made during aggressive interactions between individuals. A soft nasal drone is performed during copulation runs.

 Similar species: takahe are about twice the size (in weight) and flightless, with a green back and wing cover. Juveniles may be confused with the spotless crake which lacks a frontal shield and has a more slender bill. Rare vagrant dusky moorhen is more likely to be seen swimming, is not as upright as a pukeko, and is smaller and greyer with a yellow tip to the red bill, and a dark centre to the otherwise white undertail. The equally rare (in New Zealand) black-tailed native-hen is much smaller with a green-and-orange bill, white spots on the flanks and a longer tail that is black underneath.

 Distribution and Habitat.

Pukeko are found throughout New Zealand, although less common in drier regions. They are typically found near sheltered fresh or brackish water (e.g. vegetated swamps, streams or lagoons), especially adjacent to open grassy areas and pastures. Pukeko are regularly seen near roadside and drainage ditches and along the margins of scrub or forested areas, from sea level up to 2300 m. Pukeko are resident on Chatham and Pitt Islands (though scarce there in the presence of dense weka populations) and on Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands. They have been recorded as vagrants on L’Esperance Rock (Kermadec Islands, September 1988), Campbell Island (January 1947) and Snares Islands (April 2016).

Size 9cm H x 6.5 cm W.