New Zealand's Natural Cover Takahe



The flightless Takahe is a colourful green and blue bird with an impressive red beak and strong legs.  This unique specimen was thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in 1948, 700m above Lake Te Anau. The news was heralded worldwide as a notable ornithological event. The discovery was not just a lucky accident but the result of a planned search by Dr Geoffrey Orbell an Invercargill GP and keen tramper. He first found claw prints of an unknown bird and, allowing winter to pass, set out in search of the owner of the prints. Finally several months later Dr Orbell managed to sight two birds.

To survive in its harsh natural environment, the Takahe depends on its plumage. The distinctive colouring camouflages it for risk reduction; and its insulating secretions provide it with natural cover.

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