Most of these curious brown flightless birds are renowned for being heard and not seen with their distinctively loud ‘coo-et’ that is usually heard at dusk. However, Weka living close to farms or tramping huts have been known to become very charismatic. It is very common for these more domesticated Weka to raid vegetable gardens, steal unattended food and eggs and take objects such as shoes away for further investigation.   

There are four subspecies of Weka, with three of them found in Southland and Fiordland; the Western Weka can be found in Fiordland (G. a. australis), the Bluff Weka (G. a. hector), once found throughout the Eastern South Island, have been reintroduced to Te Pekekara, Waikatipu, Chatham and Pitt islands and the Stewart Island Weka (G. a. scott) are found at a restoration site near Halfmoon Bay on Rakiura Stewart Island and some surrounding islands.

The weka is an intriguing bird that showcases New Zealand's unique birdlife diversity. Its adaptability, bold behavior, and distinct vocalizations make it a fascinating species to observe. Ongoing conservation efforts are crucial for ensuring the survival and thriving of this charismatic bird across its native habitats.

Read more on the Weka here.

Learn more about other birds in Southland: