New Zealand: Takahē
Perhaps you remember the pūkeko that appeared here in the first round of New Zealand pictures. Well, this is its flightless cousin, the South Island takahē, Porphyrio hochstetteri. By the mid-20th century the species was believed extinct but, as Wikipedia tells it, “[Dr. Geoffrey] Orbell suspected it might survive. While taking time off from his Invercargill practice to search for the takahē, he discovered a set of unfamiliar footprints. After following the footprints with three companions he rediscovered the species on 20 November 1948 in a remote valley of the Murchison Mountains near Lake Te Anau.” Since then the takahē has been nursed away from the brink of extinction, as attested by this one that I photographed at the Zealandia Sanctuary on February 21st. The picture also attests to the fact these birds like to use their beak to peck the ground and pull out plants.
© 2015 Steven Schwartzman