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Photo Information
Copyright: Chris Chafer (sandpiper2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1906 W: 107 N: 4875] (16757)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-04
Categories: Birds
Camera: Pentax K100D Super, Sigma 70-300 DG Macro, Digital ISO-400, Matin 58mm UV
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/350 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): My Trips to New Zealand [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-05-17 19:35
Viewed: 4399
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Weka (Gallirallus australis) are endemic to New Zealand and have four subspecies, this is the western south island form. They are predominantly rich brown mottled with black and grey; the brown shade varies from pale to dark depending on subspecies. They are flightless and about the same size as a domestic chicken with males weighing up to 1 kg and the female is about 700 g. The reddish-brown break is about 5 cm long, stout and tapered, and used as a weapon. The pointed tail is near-constantly being flicked, a sign of unease characteristic of the rail family. Weka have sturdy legs and reduced wings.

Weka occupy areas such as forests, sub-alpine grassland, sand dunes, rocky shores and modified semi-urban environments. They are omnivorous, their diet includes earthworms, larvae, beetles, weta, ants, grass grubs, slugs, snails, insect eggs, slaters, frogs, spiders, rats, mice, and small birds, grass, berries and seeds. Weka are important in the bush as seed dispersers, distributing seeds too large for smaller berry-eating birds. Where the Weka is relatively common, their furtive curiosity leads them to search around houses and camps for food scraps, or anything unfamiliar and transportable. This one was foraging around the car park at a coastal lookout, but I also encountered them deep in the forest on several occasions.

They are considered vulnerable by the Dept. of Conservation and are vulnerable to predation by introduced predators such as stoats, ferrets, cats and dogs.

I've put another shot in the workshop showing him waking away.

pekkavalo1, loot, Jamesp, haraprasan, albert, elizabeth, smitha, meyerd, SelenE, LordPotty has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Chris,

Excellent capture of Weka with great composition and sharpness of details, good colours and BG.



  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-05-17 23:28]

Hi Chris

Great shot - good framing plus great colour and excellent detail. Well observed and captured.


Hi Chris,
A nice looking bird. Well captured with excellent details and composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-05-18 2:37]

Hi Chris

I don't know this bird other than from photos I've seen of it here on the site and it is rather cute in its own peculiar way. The big bill, interesting face, and those large feet which almost look like those of water birds (for example the pukeko), but reading through your notes this one obviously does not qualify for that label.

It's a nice clear capture with lots of details, natural colours, good proportions in the cropping / composition, good range in the DOF to isolate the BG and render it OOF, and spot-on exposure control.

Well done and TFS.

Hi Chris, lovely walking bird, I never see before, thanks, splendid colors, great details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hello Chris
Good capture of this interesting bird, never seen it !

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-05-18 8:08]

Hi Chris,
Wonderful shot of this beautiful Weka with nice colours and details on its plumage. Superb natural lighting and exposure and the diagonal shade looks fabulous. Excellent POV and composition. Kudos.

Hello Chris,
.Excellent capture of the Weka.Good sharpness and details in the plumage.I lked te way you have caught it in mid stride.good natural colours.
TFS & Regards,

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2008-05-21 12:27]

Hi Chris,
I finally and thanks to you Chris, I come to see a Weka rail. I learned about it 40 years ago as a student in Zurich and then it remained in my head for a simple reason: it is of great interest to evolutionary biologists why New Zealand holds (held) so many flightless bird species. Since the student times new concepts like continental drift and Island biogeography helped understand things better (sorry, preaching, and you knew all about this).
Best regards

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-05-22 5:13]

Hi Chris,
POV, details on the plumage and composition look so nice. TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-05-23 7:21]

Hello Chris,
I missed this beauty while we were away!
I have never seen this flightless bird, the Weka on TN before and this is an excllent capture of it.
The lighting and sharpness are superb and the composition against to contrasting grass showing the side POV make this image a good illustration of the species.
TFS this fine contribution,

This came out well too Chris.
Weka often don't photograph so well in bright sunlight ... the feathers tend to reflect and lose detail.
This is good though.
Nice capture.

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