Banded rail (pererū) are found throughout the southwest Pacific, where they have evolved into several different subspecies. On the mainland of New Zealand they are most common in mangrove forests, salt marshes and in some freshwater wetlands around northern parts of the North Island.
The best site for seeing a banded rail in the Abel Tasman National Park is on the Mārahau Estuary boardwalk. You can visit our YouTube Chanel to watch a short video of banded rail chicks taken from this boardwalk. The best time for viewing banded rails is at dawn or dusk, or when a falling tide has exposed snails and small mud crabs, which are their preferred food. Look for a fleeting glimpse of these crepuscular foragers as they dart across the mudflats between clumps of rushes.
Banded rail are small, brownish birds, something like a miniature weka, but intricately patterned with black streaks and pale spots on an olive brown background.