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Wildlife of New Zealand

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Weka (Gallirallus australis, Rallidae: Crakes, Rails and Swamphens) northwest South Island NZ

The iconic large flightless rail endemic to New Zealand, here filmed in its stronghold of the northwest South Island, birds here were mostly filmed in and around the town of Westport. Elsewhere it is found in the southwest of the South Island and on Stewart island. Now very rare on the North Island mainland, but present on a number of offshore islands.

Often shy and retreats into dense undergrowth that it is usually not too far from. However some birds can be very bold and are known to help themselves to the contents of unguarded rucksacks etc. Here one is seen checking out our car for 'items of interest'.

The Weka is one of the few survivors among the many extinct species of flightless rail that were once found across the islands of the southwest Pacific, before the arrival of humans and mammalian predators.

Related to the much smaller Buff-banded rail, also found in NZ as well as Australia and parts of SE Asia and the SW Pacific see: Also the flightless Lord Howe Woodhen of Lord Howe Island, between Australia and NZ see



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