Pāteke (Brown Teal)

Anas Chlorotis (Pateke)

The pāteke or brown teal is a small dabbling duck species endemic to New Zealand and classified as nationally endangered due primarily to the impact of introduced predators. There are currently between 2000 – 2500 pāteke living in the wild in New Zealand, making it the rarest waterfowl species on the mainland.

Interesting Pāteke Fact! 
Pāteke could be described as crepuscular or nocturnal as they spend most of the day in the shade and become more active during twilight hours and at night. This behaviour may be precautionary because in predator free areas such as Staglands, they are active throughout the day.  

Habitat and Distribution:
In pre-human times, they may have been the most widespread and numerous of New Zealand’s waterfowl. However pāteke are now mostly restricted to the northern North Island  Their present day habitat lies mostly in agricultural environments wherein the birds use occluded stock ponds as breeding and feeding sites and also margins of small streams that retain overhanging marginal vegetation.

As the name suggests, the brown teal’s plumage is brown. However they can are easily distinguished from other brown-looking ducks by the narrow white ring around its eyes. Outside the breeding period, when males and females can be identified by their distinctive breeding plumage, they look very alike.

Male calls are soft, usually described as trills or piping, given in alarm and in territorial defence. The female has a rasping growl and a high-pitched and rapid quack.

Pāteke diet is diverse. They feed  on invertebrates including aquatic insects larvae and even small shrimp.  In inter-tidal areas they dabble in soft sediments in search of food. They also extract flesh from cockles and small mussels. On freshwater ponds they have been observed eating the leaves of various wetland plants.

Pāteke are monogamous and generally fiercely territorial. Most nesting occurs in late winter (July-September). Typically nests are buried in dry locations deep within bases of rush, grass or fern clumps near water. Large pale fawn eggs are generally laid daily. The average clutch is 5 or 6  and the incubation period is about 28 days. Both parents guard the ducklings until they fledge at  50-55 days old. The mature ducklings are then forcefully evicted from the territory on or about the time the parents start their post-breeding moult.

Conservation Links:

Whio Forever
Kea Conservation Trust
NZ Brown Teal Online
Department of Conservation
Greater Wellington Regional Council
IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species

One of the best places to go around Wellington, especially with kids! Lovely, very friendly and funny animals, beautiful surroundings. For the 3+ hours we spent there, we smiled and laughed as much as for the previous week? month? :-) Little historical area within the reserve is another remarkable spot.

Alexey Volkov

The staff are very welcoming. The animals were super interactive, sometimes to an amusing extent (being followed by a guinea fowl horde was hilarious). The place is huge, and I think we saw about 98% of it. A beautiful array of feathered friends, fish and furry creatures. Was definitely worth the drive. I'll pop by next time I visit NZ.

Nowhere Town

Enjoyed wandering through and petting the animals. Great for a family visit, lots of good picnic spots if you don't want to go to the cafe.

Thomas Beagle

100% recommend !!!! You get to pet a lot of animals ! I was hoping the pigs to be roaming around the grass area, but I was still able to pet them over the fence. It’s a huge reserve and got space to do picnics ! I would recommend giving yourself at least 3 hours to see everything ! They got other attractions like a train tour and apparently weddings too. You can walk along the river and feed trouts at the pond. A lot of birds just walking about so won’t recommend if you’re afraid of birds. 

Dana Young

"Easy way to fill in a fun filled day with the children. Awesome set up, reasonable price, and can take your own lunch or eat in the Cafe. Perfect!"

Emma McGregor

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