Tētē Moroiti (Grey Teal)

Anas gracilis (Tētē Moroiti)

The tētē moroiti or grey teal is a small dabbling duck that frequents shallow freshwater lakes. The bird is extremely nomadic. It is an extremely gregarious species. In Australia it’s nomadic, quickly colonizing appropriate habitat following rain. In 1957, massive numbers fled Australia, shifting to New Zealand to flee drought. 

Habitat and Distribution:
Widespread in New Zealand, with the greatest concentrations in Canterbury (especially Lake Ellesmere), South Auckland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Otago. Most occur in areas below 300 m above sea level and they are rare above 900 m. Their preferred habitat is shallow freshwater lakes, lagoons and swamps with extensive marginal cover, but at times birds are seen on salt and brackish water. Grey Teal is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, however is fully protected in NZ.

The tētē moroiti is a small, slim, ‘plain-faced’ duck, considerably smaller than a mallard or grey duck. It is mostly grey-brown in colour with pale cheeks, chin and throat. The eye is bright crimson, especially in adult males, and the bill is dark grey. Immature birds have a duller red eye.

Their call may be heard as a “cuck, cuck, cuck” that’s comparatively fast and features a sharp whistle. The female and male call are totally different when it comes to quantity and sort.

The male’s call tends to be more of a whistle, whereas the females call could be very loud and harsh sounding. For short-distance communication, the birds have a softer variation of their calls.

The tētē moroiti is a nocturnal feeder but is frequently seen forging at dawn and duskThey feed on small aquatic insects, molluscs and the seeds of swamp plants. Food is obtained by filtering the surface water and the mud.  

In New Zealand, the breeding appears to be seasonal beginning in June and can extend to January. Breeding probably commences at one year of age. Nest sites can be found in tree hollows and on the ground under the bower of tall grasses. They also readily accept nest boxes. Clutches consist of five to nine cream coloured eggs. Egg dumping by other females can increase the clutch size. Pair-bonds are retained from one season to the next. The female incubates, but the male helps in defending the ducklings. 

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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