Pāteke / brown teal
The pāteke/brown teal is a small New Zealand dabbling duck and the rarest native waterfowl found on the mainland. Since 2017, DOC and Project Janszoon have translocated nearly 300 pāteke to the lower Awapoto River, at Hadfield Clearing behind the Awaroa estuary.
Once widespread throughout freshwater and estuarine wetlands, predation by introduced mammals like cats, dogs and stoats has seen the population reduced to an estimated 2,500 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.
Since their release their have been chicks regularly seen in the area so the birds are successfully breeding. It is hoped a strong southern population can now establish in the Abel Tasman National Park.
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. 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.
If you do see stoats, or feral cats in the area please let us know via the ‘Have you seen this?’ section of the Abel Tasman Phone App. Also please report pāteke sightings.
Bird calls courtesy of NZ birds online
Photo courtesy Ruth Bollongino fernphotos.com