Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Welcome to the Kiwi Birdlife Park's first chapter of the Whio Files. Here we will be introducing you to our blue duck/whio, what we are doing for whio conservation and who we are working with too!
Meet our whio (pronounced fee-oh), a beautiful riverine waterfowl species endemic to Aotearoa New Zealand. Whio are under severe threat with only an estimated 3,000 individuals remaining in the wild. This is due to predation, severe habitat destruction and disturbance. They inhabit fast-flowing rivers and wetland areas and populations are present on both the North and South Island. Due to geographical isolation, there are some differences in the genetics between these populations so they are managed separately for conservation purposes. The Kiwi Birdlife Park is home to a breeding pair of South Island whio. Come and visit us to see them!
Shan and Tye arrived at the park in June 2017 and have been laying clutches for the past four breeding seasons. Six of their eggs from the first clutch this year have already hatched and were sent off on a flight to Christchurch a fortnight ago. This is always done with Air New Zealand, who kindly sponsor transfers of some native species for conservation. Upon arrival, the ducklings are then picked up by The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust (ICWT). The trust take over and do a fantastic job of getting these young birds ready for release into the wild. This is a great example of collaboration for conservation!
Keep up to date with how our ducklings are doing by following ICWT on Facebook -
In exciting news, Shan and Tye are currently half way through incubating their second clutch! We will be finding out how many eggs there are tomorrow and telling you so much more in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned to learn all about the incubation stage!