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08 He aha tērā? Ring-necked Pheasant

Large brown bird with long tail and dark head with red wattles.
Photo by Miraz Jordan.

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.

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.

This item was updated on Wednesday 23 March 2022

I live at Waikawa Beach and love all the wildlife, fauna and flora.