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Showing posts from May, 2011

Putangitangi, the paradise shelduck

This being the duck shooting season, paradise ducks in the paddocks around Greytown are especially wary and start sounding the alarm even though I am still a great distance away, walking my dog as I am want to do. The male has the deeper voice, dueting with his mate as they fly off.
Putangitangi, the paradise shelduck, is endemic to New Zealand, that is it is found nowhere else in the world. It was discovered first by Captain Cook at Dusky Sound in 1773 during his second voyage. Cook called it the Painted Duck. They were not a common bird before settlement by Europeans but are now the one endemic bird which has prospered with the conversion of native forest to pasture. They have increased greatly in numbers through this century and are now only partially protected.

They are a large duck and are always seen in pairs except during the moulting season. The drake has a black head with a greenish gloss, the body being dark grey barred with black. The undertail and tertials are orange ches…