158. Takahe

Takahe is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand and belongs to the rail family. The bird is about 25 inches long and weighs 2 to 4 kilograms. It is a stocky bird, with reduced wings, strong legs and a massive bill.

The adult bird is purple blue in color with a greenish back and inner wings. The young birds have pale brown plumage.

The bird has a red frontal shield and a red based pink bill. The legs are pink too! Both the sexes look the same but the females are slightly smaller in size. These birds are noisy and have a loud call.

The near extinction of Takahe is due to many reasons. Predators, loss of habitat and over hunting have contributed to this effect. This species has a long life. So it takes several years to attain maturity and then starts to reproduce very slowly.

The Takahe is found in Alpine grassland habitats. It eats grass, shoots and insects. It builds nests under bushes and guards its territory vigilantly.

Visalakshi Ramani


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