In the “Pāteke survival guide

The pāteke or brown teal (Anas chlorotis) is a relatively small, little-known duck found only in New Zealand.

Its closest relatives are the Auckland Island teal and Campbell Island teal of subantarctic New Zealand and the chestnut teal of Australia.

Pāteke are mottled brown in colour, with a white ring around the eye. Males are easily distinguishable from females in their breeding plumage (during the autumn and winter months) with their iridescent green heads and chestnut-coloured breasts.

Originally birds of a variety of forest and wetland habitats, pāteke now occur mainly on lowland floodplains typically where there are combinations of pastoral land, forest remnants, wetlands, and estuaries.

Pāteke are winter-spring nesters and defend territories around their nests and brood-rearing sites. During the day these territorial birds hide in dense vegetation, often close to open water. Most females lay 1–2 clutches per season, each containing about 6 eggs which are incubated for about 4 weeks.

A characteristic of pāteke is their congregation at regular flock sites on and at the edges of permanent water bodies. These are most heavily frequented during the non-breeding (summer) months and particularly by young birds.

Pāteke do most of their feeding at night in permanent seeps, swamps, damp pasture and the shallows of drains, streams, ponds and estuaries.

They are omnivorous, consuming a variety of grasses, seeds, insects, molluscs, worms and many other invertebrates.

Once widespread throughout New Zealand, they are now very rare due to habitat loss and predators.

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