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Rare takahē chick hatches at Zealandia

A rare takahē chick has hatched at Zealandia, with rangers at the Wellington wildlife sanctuary doing all they can to improve its chances of survival.

The chick was believed to have hatched last Wednesday. Its parents, Nio and Orbell, have been nesting since early November, and at 14 and 18 respectively are nearing the end of their breeding age.

Nio and Orbell were moved to Zealandia last year from Mana Island to free up space for younger birds.

Conservation Manager Dr Danielle Shanahan is delighted with the successful hatching but warns that the chick is still extremely vulnerable, even in a predator-free environment like Zealandia.

“We are really excited to have a new addition to our whānau,” said Dr Shanahan. “But this is nature and of course, and anything could happen.”

Takahē chicks are vulnerable to wet spring weather, and parents can struggle to find the right food to support them.

“We will be doing all we can to improve the chances that this chick grows into a healthy adult,” said Dr Shanahan.

This includes closing off public access to the takahē wetland area for a few weeks to give the birds some space, and supplying supplementary food to help the parents provide the best nutrition for the youngster.

“We are incredibly lucky to have a huge team of volunteers and staff who are ensuring the parents have access to supplementary food throughout the day.”

The takahē at Zealandia are ambassador birds for their species, providing thousands of visitors with a chance to see one of New Zealand’s most endangered and charismatic birds.

Photo of Nio and Orbell by Judi Lapsley Miller