Pāteke/brown teal

The pāteke/brown teal is a small New Zealand dabbling duck and the rarest native waterfowl found on the mainland.

Once widespread throughout freshwater and estuarine wetlands, predation by introduced mammals like cats, dogs and stoats has seen the population reduced to an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 pāteke now living in the wild.  Most pāteke are now found on Great Barrier Island and a few North Island sites.  They are only found in one other South Island site, Arthur Valley in Fiordland.

In May 2017 pāteke/brown teal were released in the lower Awapoto River, at Hadfield Clearing behind the Awaroa estuary.  As Project Janszoon has widespread predator control in this area it is hoped a strong southern population can establish in the Abel Tasman National Park.  If they do well the plan is to release 300 over seven years.

Pāteke are a small duck and mainly brown in colour with a distinctive white eye-ring which makes them easy to tell apart from other ducks.  Male birds are slightly larger and have a greenish sheen to the upper head during breeding.

It is likely that birds will disperse through all of the Awaroa Inlet as they feed on pasture and invertebrates in the upper margins of estuaries.  You can report any sightings through the observation section of the free Abel Tasman smart phone app. Search for Abel Tasman in your Google Play or App store and download.

Please take care on the road to Awaroa inlet as pāteke can be killed by vehicles as they feed in drains and puddles on the edge of roads.  Loose dogs and cats are also a threat.