A pukeko is a swamp hen, part of the rail family. While some of our native birds have become extinct because of introduced predators such as rats, cats and stoats, the pukeko has adapted easily and is very common. They happily live in town and city reserves where there are swamps and ponds, living on vegetation, insects and frogs.
I’ve always thought of pukekos as stupid birds. When we lived on the farm I used to watch them flying into power lines and fences. They do fly, but are not strong flyers and usually only travel short distances. They also make a high-pitch shriek – it’s not a particularly musical sound. The pukeko chicks are very weird looking and cute at the same time with big feet – watch the ad below to see for yourself. It’s an ad for an electricity wholesaler and has won heaps of ad awards. It always makes me smile.
What is the strangest bird you’ve ever seen? Do you like bird watching?