08 He aha tērā? What is that?

This large bird has a special squawk that alerts you when an earthquake is coming. Or it startles as you go by and throws itself into the air with a clatter of wings then clumsily flaps a short distance. Or it strolls along the road in front of you. He aha tērā? What is that?

A large striking brown speckled bird with a long tail, vivid blue neck and red wattles.
Photo by Jan Jordan. Used with permission.

Scroll down to see the answer.

Answer: it’s a peihana, ring-necked pheasant:

Identification: Length: 80 cm (male), 60 cm (female); Weight: Up to 1.5 kg (male), 1.2 kg (female)

Similar species: Weka

A chicken-like bird found in rough farmland and shrublands along coasts and rivers. Males are long-tailed with boldly marked blackish heads with red facial wattles. Females are smaller and brownish-grey.

Acclimatisation Societies released about 30 species of upland game birds throughout New Zealand, to provide sport for European colonists. Common pheasants were among the first to be released, in Wellington, Canterbury, Otago and Auckland from 1842-1877.

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