ENDEMIC. UNCOMMON. RESIDENT.
DISTRIBUTION: Confined to the three main islands of New Zealand and the Chathams, where it was introduced. Due to a devastating population crash around 1915 (cause unknown) the Weka has become rare in many areas where it was formerly common. Now most commonly found in Nelson, Westland, Fiordland and on Stewart Island.
HABITAT: Most types of forest and scrubland and semi open areas ranging from the snowline to the sea.
BREEDING: They nest in a substantial bowl of vegetation, well hidden, and lined with hair or feathers. 5-6 eggs are usually laid and incubation takes about 26 days. About 2 days after hatching, the fluffy black chicks are led away from the nest and stay with their parents for several months.
FOOD: A versatile omnivore that will eat almost anything, but mostly seeds, fruit, and insects. It will also hunt and kill mice, rats and young rabbits. It also favours eggs and chicks when in season.
VOICE: Soft deep booming sound as well as a shrill two-note call.
GENERAL: There are four species of this flightless bird. Adults mate for life occupying joint territories which are fiercely defended year round. They can become quite fearless around humans and are known to be notorious ‘camp-site thieves’. Buff Weka are extinct in Canterbury, but The New Zealand Conservation Trust and Willowbank are involved in a project to re-establish this particular species back into selected areas of Canterbury from the Chatham Islands.