South Island Weka

Robyn Carter

Marlborough, New Zealand

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Artist's Description

The weka (Gallirallus australis), a flightless rail, has an engaging and resourceful nature. Weka are most often seen or heard shrieking around dusk. They emerge from dense undergrowth and scurry, neck outstretched, across open space to the next available cover. Weka live deep in forest or at the margins, and make forays onto farmland and gardens, where they helpfully eat grubs and unhelpfully pull up seedlings.
Weka subspecies

There are four subspecies:

  • the North Island weka
  • the western weka (found in north-west Nelson, Marlborough and the West Coast)
  • the Stewart Island weka
  • the buff weka (now mainly found in the Chatham Islands).

The buff weka became extinct in its eastern South Island range around 1920, but was introduced to the Chatham Islands, where it has become a pest. Several attempts have been made to re-establish populations in Canterbury and Otago.

Weka are protected throughout their natural range – the North, South and Stewart islands.

This one came out to greet us as soon as we parked our car. We were just going to walk to the river to take photos – but this ended up being the star of the photo event.

Canon EOS 7D
18-55mm Lens

Murchison, South Island, New Zealand

Featured in: “The Birds”

Artwork Comments

  • Ray Clarke
  • Karen  Moore
  • Lance Leopold
  • Robyn Carter
  • Jenny Dean
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  • Alexa Pereira
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  • David Haworth
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  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
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  • Marguerite Foxon
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  • Morgan MacLaren
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  • TeresaB
  • Robyn Carter
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