Zealandia's Tākahe chick starts solid foods and explores surroundings

By Talisa Kupenga

Zealandia Eco sanctuary's rare Tākahe chick is kicking off the New Year with a new diet as it continues to grow. The chick is now out and about exploring its environment.

Video credit: Zealandia

The young Tākahe chick wastes no time getting amongst its surroundings.

Zealandia Ecosanctuary Kaitiaki Ranger Aaria Dobson-Waitere says "It's still heavily reliant on its parents at this time they will pick grass or take the pellets and feed it to the chick."

Born last November to breeding pair Nio and Orbell, the chick's gender is not yet known so it is yet to be named.

"The Tākahe is 59-days-old today so almost two months. We're starting to see it [grow]…from a little black ball of fluff to starting to develop some of its older Tākahe plumage, the green and blue that you see on the adults.

“Also the beak is changing so it was little and white but now it's starting to lose the white tip and turn black before it will turn red."

Takahe were thought to be extinct until being sighted again 70 years ago. The little one was born around the time if the 70th anniversary of the rediscovery of its own kind.

Dobson-Waitere says "Tākahe are a threatened species in Aotearoa so this chick that we have in Zealandia, which is our first chick that's been born here, is really important and really special not only for us but also to the growing population."    

Next month the chick will be tagged, receive a health check and have a DNA test to determine its gender.