South Island Takahe

About the South Island Takahe

Also known as: Notornis, Takahē
The South Island Takahe is a large species of flightless rail endemic to New Zealand. In fact, the species, also known as Notornis, is the largest living species of rail in the world, weighing in at up to 9+ lbs!

The South Island Takahe lives in alpine grasslands. It is a altitudinal migrant, moving to lower altitudes during the winter when snow covers its grassland breeding grounds. They feed on vegetation, like grass and shoots, as well as insects and occasionally eggs of other birds.

South Island Takahe can be recognized by their stocky build, iridescent plumage, and red facial shield. Males and females look alike, though males are typically larger.
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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 01 December 2017
Scientific Name
Porphyrio hochstetteri
  • Gruiformes
  • Rallidae
  • Porphyrio
  • P. hochstetteri
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Endangered (as of 5 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
25 inches
64 to 149 ounces


The South Island Takahe is currently (as of November 2017) considered to be vulnerable to extinction. A similar species, the North Island Takahe, is known only from skeletal remains. The South Island Takahe was thought to be extinct when the last known individuals perished in the late 1890s. The bird was rediscovered in the late 1940s following an extensive search. Birds have been (re-)introduced to other nearby locations free of predators in order to help the species survive. Survival is threatened by several factors, including invasive species that compete for food or act as predators. The South Island Takahe is protected and managed by several entities in New Zealand.

International Names

Chinese (汉语) 南秧鸡
Czech (Cesky) slípka novozélandská
Danish (Dansk) Sydlig Takahe
Dutch (Nederlands) Zuidereilandtakahe
Finnish (Suomi) takahe
French (Français) Takahé du Sud
German (Deutsch) Takahe
Italian (Italiano) Takahe
Japanese (日本語) ナントウタカヘ [nantoutakahe]
Norwegian (Norsk) Takahe
Polish (Polski) takahe południowy
Portuguese (Português) takahe
Russian (русский язык) Такахе
Spanish (Español) Calamón takahe
Swedish (Svenska) sydötakahe
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