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October 27, 2009


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?


  1. Jaime

    What a cute video! As to your question…I don’t know what they are called, but the farm up the road has chickens with big poofy tufts of hair on their heads. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!

  2. Shelley Munro

    Jaime – I’ve seen those chickens. Actually there are quite a few weird chicken breeds.

  3. Alice Audrey

    That would have to count as one of the strangest birds I’ve seen. Otherwise we’re only talking stuff like ostriches.

  4. Mary

    Awww, they are cute. I think the strangest bird I’ve ever seen was one around here. I have no idea what the heck it was, I believe it was probably someone’s pet and escaped. It was bright bright yellow with orange spots on it’s head and chest.

    he would sit up in the pine tree outside my front door and just talk his little head off. Talking = chirping, chortling, squeaking.

  5. Linda Henderson

    I think an ostrich at the zoo was it for me.

  6. Shelley Munro

    Ostrichs are strange, that’s for sure. I remember seeing an adult ostrich with about ten chicks running after it in a line when we were in Kenya. Very cool!

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