Banded rail – the early bird

banded rail 2The banded rail was once widespread in NZ but is now rarely seen, partly because they are very reclusive and well-camouflaged and partly because their habitats are threatened.  But they’ve become quite widespread in the Open Sanctuary and can be spotted in the Okoromai wetland area if you’re prepared to be there at at dawn.  Donald Snook has been there regularly in recent months and took these photos.

banded rail 1As you can see they are very attractive little birds.  They are relatives of the weka but smaller. They eat just about anything but favour crabs and snails so are often found in salt-marshes and mangroves. They can fly but not very well so are easy prey for cats and other predators.

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