Carnivorous pukeko

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Nakilad
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:52 am

Carnivorous pukeko

Postby Nakilad » Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:52 pm

On Thursday 24 November I was enjoying the tranquillity of Western Springs, Auckland and the abundant birds there. I came across a group of five or six pukeko of various ages all behaving excitedly. I walked up closer and found they were devouring a mallard duckling. They were so intent that they didn't mind me getting right up close. The skin and flesh from around the head and neck had been completely removed and they appeared to be continuing to focus on that area. Eventually an adult picked up the body and took it into the bushes, the others followed close behind.

A short time earlier we had seen a duckling in amongst the pigeons and pukeko near the lake. It was by itself and appeared to have become separated from its parents and looked somewhat distressed. I assume it was this one that became a victim of the group of pukeko.

Anyway, I thought this might be an interesting observation to add to other accounts of pukeko killing and eating other birds.
Vaughan Turner
Birding Remotely
fras444
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:06 pm

Re: Carnivorous pukeko

Postby fras444 » Tue Nov 29, 2022 5:59 am

Wild Pukes are quite flighty anyway but particularly the ones in Tawharanui, while I was working in the park... 2011ish there were some students doing research on tui and they were telling us how the pukes, after years of being spooked on the tops of those gully ridges and landing in trees... They learnt about tui nesting in the tops of particularly the manuka/kanuka scrub and had learnt to fly up into the trees around spring, to look for nests..
les
Posts: 162
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:28 am

Re: Carnivorous pukeko

Postby les » Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:21 am

they are well known for predation of ducklings and when I worked in a vineyard mowing between the rows, they would follow the tractor looking for fieldmice, they would catch them by the tale and run off to a nearby drain where they would drown the mouse and eat them.
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Steps
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Re: Carnivorous pukeko

Postby Steps » Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:28 am

Local farmers/ guys around here who have spent decades making ponds for ducks and general wildlife have a full on 'hate' of pukes.
They breed quick and devastate the local duck and bird life, preditating on small birds and chicks.....and goes the same for the peacocks and Canadian geese.
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john b
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:40 pm

Re: Carnivorous pukeko

Postby john b » Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:41 pm

When I had turkeys I used to regularly lose checks to pukeko . Often I would find them killed and mutilated rather than actually eaten. I have also seen a group of pukeko attack a lone pukeko and kill all its newly hatched chicks . This attack certainly seemed to be more about killing rather than eating.
I still like them as long as they stay out of my vegetable garden.
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1985
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Carnivorous pukeko

Postby andrewcrossland » Tue Nov 29, 2022 9:52 pm

Last a year in Chch a black-billed colony lost about 200 nests from predation by about 6 or 7 pukeko and this year a colony of over 2000 gulls has a little gang of pukeko s taking large chicks regularly through the day.
It’s funny how some folks in chch want to put predator -exclusion fences around at least 2 major wetlands to exclude cats etc, when both sites support hundreds of pukeko- as well as black-backed gulls and harriers.
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1985
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Carnivorous pukeko

Postby andrewcrossland » Tue Nov 29, 2022 9:55 pm

Pukeko in chch have also diversified their feeding methods and diet and on both the Avon-heathcote estuary and brooklands lagoon they feed on inter-tidal mudflats on various prey items including crabs, which they remove legs and claws from before eating
les
Posts: 162
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:28 am

Re: Carnivorous pukeko

Postby les » Fri Dec 02, 2022 1:54 pm

Hastings has a huge pukeko population that never used to be here and I have put it down to winter food source in all the apple orchards with,cover and food in the form of unpicked apples?They are all over the place and you might well see half a dozen fresh road kills driving around the general area.

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