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Gruiformes > Rallidae

South Island Takahe

Porphyrio hochstetteri

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Identification

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The largest living rail in the world, endemic to New Zealand. Considered extinct until it was famously rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains in 1948. The wild population remains in the Murchison Mountains; the species has been translocated to predator-free offshore islands and mainland sanctuaries, and recently reintroduced to northwest Kahurangi National Park. Note distinct iridescent plumage, white undertail, and huge bright red conical bill that extends onto the forehead. Often heard giving a quiet hooting contact call, or a muted boom. Australasian Swamphen (Pukeko) can look similar, but Takahe are much larger, can’t fly, and have no black on wings or back.

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South Island Takahe

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