The Auckland Island teal is mainly crepuscular to nocturnal (2), feeding on marine invertebrates, terrestrial amphipods, insect larvae and small molluscs in coastal pools or washed-up seaweed, and also on algae (6). Mated pairs travel and feed together (6) and maintain a territory (2), but may flock at traditional roosting sites when not feeding (7). During the breeding season, these flocks consist mainly of juveniles and non-paired adults (7). The breeding rate and annual productivity is low (6), with clutches of three to four eggs laid from late October, with the first broods appearing in December (2). The gestation period exceeds 30 days in the wild and is 30 to 35 days in captivity, with incubation performed by the female alone, while the male remains close and guards the female whilst feeding during nest relief. Both parents attend to and defend their young throughout the fledging period of 60 to 70 days and both sexes first breed at one year in captivity (2).
Endemic to the Auckland Island group, as its common name suggests, this flightless duck is one of the smallest of the Australasian teals, with greatly reduced wings (4) (5). Indeed, as one of the few remaining flightless birds in the world, the Auckland Island teal is a product of an island environment isolated from the rest of the world for more than 80 million years, and free from mammalian predators (4). The body and face are dark brown, with light and dark brown barring on the flanks and mottled chestnut tones on the breast (2) (6) (7). This cryptic colouration provides useful camouflage amongst the kelp fronds of their habitat (5). A fine white ring surrounds the eye, the bill is bluish-black, and the legs and feet slate grey. Breeding males possess an iridescent green sheen on the nape of their necks (2). Females are uniformly dark brown with a paler abdomen, and prominent white eye ring (2). Male calls are soft, high-pitched wheezy whistles, while females produce low quacks and growls (7).
is endemic to New Zealand
where it has permanent populations on Ewing, Enderby, Rose, Ocean, Adams, Disappointment and Dundas Islands in the Auckland Islands group. The total area of the seven islands is 113 km2
but, with the exception of Disappointment Island, birds were predominantly dispersed along island shorelines, but now occur throughout Adams Island at least (M. Williams in litt.
. It formerly bred on Auckland Island itself, where there are records from the 1940s. Three population estimates suggest that total numbers do not exceed 600 individuals, three indicate numbers of more than 1,000 (Moore and Walker 1991)
, and one suggests a population of more than 2,000 birds (Heather and Robertson 1997)
. The population appears to be stable.
Islets off Auckland Islands.
Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
The Auckland Island teal is found in the Auckland Island group of New Zealand, with permanent populations on Ewing, Enderby, Rose, Ocean, Adams, Disappointment and Dundas Islands. Formerly bred on Auckland Island itself, where records exist up until the 1940s (6).