In the “Pāteke survival guide

Pāteke nest in dense ground-cover, generally close to feeding areas and areas of open water where the brood is relatively safe. The nest site can be within quite open areas, often up to 100 metres from water, e.g. clumps of Cyperus or Carex (including Australian sedge) in grazed areas, or in denser vegetation, e.g. edges of dense kikuyu, rushes, beneath banks, fallen tree trunks, etc.

Broods are found in swamps, drains, ponds and sections of streams where the ducklings are secreted away in dense vegetation (usually adjoining open water) during the day and the family emerges to feed in those areas or adjacent wet areas at night.

Common problems associated with nesting habitat and ways of overcoming them

Problem 1 - lack of nest site cover

Issue - pasture management may have resulted in natural nest-site cover such as Cyperus being removed or Australian sedge and other weeds sprayed.

  • Solutions—fence livestock out of small areas (lower hill slopes) or habitat strips (e.g. stream banks) and leave to regenerate, or plant with sedges, Cyperus etc, or prop up mānuka slash to shade weeds and provide cover for pāteke.

Problem 2 - livestock ponds lack cover for broods

Issue - many livestock ponds would make ideal brood-rearing ponds, but livestock access has removed all cover.

  • Interim solutions—circle fence one corner or end of a pond and plant with rushes and sedges and shrubs.
  • Long-term solution—Provide alternative stock water and retire pond for restoration. Also plant one or two large leafy trees, e.g. pohutukawa or puriri that will provide better protection from harriers in the long-term.
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