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Pukeko, NZ Swamp Hen

Pukeko, NZ Swamp Hen
Photo Information
Copyright: Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-08-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Tamron 28-300 XR
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-07-06 1:46
Viewed: 17082
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus
Swamp hen

I was very intrigued when I saw this Pukeko holding some bread in her foot and using it like a fork.

The Pukeko, or New Zealand Swamp Hen is a member of the Rail family, and is similar to other species found all over the world. It is one of the few New Zealand native birds to have flourished since the arrival of man, and can be found in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations.

Groups will often be seen foraging for food in road-side areas, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross the road. This is why the Pukeko has the name of suicidal as you often see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. The ornithologist, WRB Oliver said, "The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them."

The pukeko is deep almost iridescent indigo blue with a black head and upperparts. The white undertail is flicked with every step. The bill and shield are scarlet, the eye red and the legs and feet are orange – red. The call is a loud unmusical screech and also a subdued musical, ‘Tuk – tuk’.

Pukeko mainly feed on swamp and pasture vegetation. Also insects, spiders, frogs, small birds and eggs. Shoots are held in the foot like a parrot and stripped or macerated by the powerful bill. This is what I saw this happening today too.


loot, ramthakur, pablominto, dew77, soccer, coasties, scottevers7, marhowie, wallhalla15, liquidsunshine, SkyF, izler, metcher has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2638 W: 74 N: 9100] (31094)
  • [2006-07-06 2:39]

Hello Janice!

Good to see some NZ's bird with a very good manners :-) I like your photo, good observation and very nice scene. I hope next time it'll use fork and knife :-)
Bold, fearless and polite.

Beautiful picture, Janice.
The details and colours are perfect.

Hi Janice,
Good point of view, and your feathered friend is well framed!
Good clarity in colours, with amazing textures in the feather coat...
Pablo -

:-) BRB! OK-

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-07-06 3:35]

Hello Janice,
Excellent capture.POV,moment you caught,eye contact,colors,sharpness,details and composition are wonderful.


Very good detail, Sharpness, POV and Composition. I like the contrast between the dark subject and the lighter BG. TFS,

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-07-06 5:13]

Bonjour Janice!

Belle prise le contraste est parfait avec cet environnement vert et les couleurs de l'oiseau sont jolie s et parfaitement exposées. Bravo pour le bel éclairage et les détails.

Hi Janice

Excellent shot. You show the Pukeko plumage colours very well. Good clarity and sharpness. Good eye contact too. :-)

Hi Janice, excllent colors on this unusal but colorful bird, great Job, TFs kyle

Hi Jancie,
A excellent frame filling shot on this Pukeko. I think you have captured every bit of color and detail possible. Nice OOF backround of green grass just intensifies all the colors of the bird. Well done!

Hi Janice, great shot!
Very good detail, color, and light..
Well composed and a nice POV of this colorful lady, struttin' her stuff :)
Well done and Thank You!

Hello Janice,

Great details and wonderful natural colors for this very nice composition! You can see it walking if you close a little bit your eyes :-). I like the little spark in his eye! You manage excellently the exposure also! Nice work and TFS,


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3090 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-07-06 15:17]

Love the tip-toeing stance of this swamp hen, Janice.
I have such a weak spot for the gorgeous colors of this bird. : )
You captured her with perfect focus and exposure.
TFS. : )

Hello Manyee,
this is very nice capture with great colours, lighting and sharpness/POV. Very good composition. Thank you for posting.

Hi Janice.
Good detail, colours and sharpness. exposure and lighting are good. Good POV and composition.

Thanks for posting, have a great weekend.

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5551 W: 721 N: 4164] (11276)
  • [2006-07-07 0:22]

Hi Janice
An excellent capture of this bird showing very interesting behaviour. When you sit and watch these birds pecking away between the water plants and reeds than you can see how well adapted they are to use those big feet on toes as amazing tools. I like the clear details visible of the face and eye in this shot.
The composition is fine with good space allowed all around, the colours are stunning - rich and well saturated, the details are excellent - tack sharp, the evenly colours green grass fading out of focus forms a lovely BG, and the exposure was spot-on.
Very well done and TFS.
God bless.
Kia Ora

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-07-07 20:26]

Hello Janice,
this hen looks great, not neccesarely beautiful, but colorful for sure. Youf photo however is beautiful, very nice sharpness and excellent details.

Awesome capture Janice, the lighting is perfect, the colors are fantastic and the details really come out nicely. Well done. :)

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2006-07-25 10:09]

hi janice
very interesting and different bird for me. i have never seen before. colours, exposure and details are great. your note is informative also.
thanks for sharing

Hi, Janice.
Nice shot of nice bird. Excellent pose and exposure.

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