Wild Fact #688 – With the Good, Comes the Bad – Weka

Photo from Wikicommons

Today our Flightless Bird adventure takes us all the way south to New Zealand to see if we can catch a glimpse of the Weka. Isn’t that just a fun name to say? Go ahead, say it again….Weka!  This particular flightless bird is part of the rail family and can only be found in New Zealand.  Luckily there are 4 subspecies so it improves our chances of finding one.

The Weka is a large brown bird about the size of a chicken.  Although, it doesn’t look like they have wings they have just been greatly reduced.  The Weka also has a 5 cm long, tapered beak which they like to use as a weapon.  I am starting to think that a lot of these flightless birds are violent.  Why does the Weka need a weapon?  Although they do have to worry about ferrets, cats and dogs the Weka most likely uses this weapon to capture its own food.  They prefer to feed on a variety of things including worms, beetles, ants, slugs, frogs, spiders, mice, rats and even small birds.  They will also mix it up with berries, leaves and grass.

This diverse diet makes sense when you discover that they can be found in a number of different habitats.  These sturdy birds can be found in forests, grasslands, rocky shores, sand dunes and even semi-urban environments.  Basically, you can’t go anywhere without being among the habitat of a Weka.  Although they occupy all of these locations and seem to be fairly adaptable they are classed as Vulnerable.

Photo from Wikicommons

The Weka causes a lot of issues for the Government of New Zealand.  The problem with these birds is the fact that some sub-species are on the Threatened list, however, these same birds are consuming and destroying other populations of threatened animals.  This type of behaviour is usually a result of the Weka being introduced to an island it was not normally found on.  I guess in the end we created our own problems but now we need to figure them out.

Weka Fast Fact – Weka’s are important in the forest as they are able to disperse the seeds of many plants that would normally be too large for other birds to handle.  I guess you get the good and the bad with this Flightless Bird.

Thanks for checking out the Weka and I can’t wait to provide you with all kinds of new and exciting Flightless Bird Facts tomorrow.  Enjoy the rest of your day.

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