The blue duck or ‘whio’ is one of the many endangered birds of new Zealand. They live in water ways all over the country.
There are only 2000 blue ducks In the whole of new Zealand. They are widely spread on the west coast of the South Island and the centre of the north Island see map below left- the red shows blue duck populations). Their numbers, except for a in few places with constant predator control, are decreasing. Their main predator is the stoat but domestic dogs and cats have also been seen attacking them.
Blue ducks live in both high alpine and lowland waterways. Conservationists have successfully put other endangered birds of new Zealand on offshore –predator free–islands to increase their numbers. This doesn’t work with the blue duck because they need clean rivers with large volumes of water which most small islands cant supply.
With slightly blue feathers, grey legs, yellow eyes and a grey beak, the blue duck is distinguishable from other ducks. They also have a call that sounds like “whio”. The females are around 770g and males average about 900g.
Their diet consists mainly of midgets and other fresh water invertebrates but they have been known to eat berries and fruits.
Eggs usually hatch around late September and are then incubated for around 35 days. Both parents guard the hidden nest. The young ducklings then leave the nest after around 80 days.
Blue ducks are a unique bird that can only be found in new Zealand. They face extinction and conservationists are finding it hard to recover their numbers.
· http://www.doc.govt.nz/whio sighted at 14.6.2017
· http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/blue-duck sighted at 14.6.2017Kai's blog, Kids blogs.