PUKEKO (Porphyrio porphyrio) ©totarabank.com/ecology
- Pūkeko is the common name, derived from the Māori language, for the Purple Swamphen in New Zealand.
- Pūkeko are found on New Zealand’s main islands and in the Chatham and Kermadec Islands.
- The same subspecies is also found in mainland Australia, eastern Indonesia, the Mollucas, Aru and Kai Islands, as well as in Papua New Guinea.
- Pūkeko are known for their bold scheming and determination.
- In times past they raided gardens for kūmara (sweet potato) and taro.
- A stubborn, annoying person was compared metaphorically to the bird, and was said to have Pūkeko ears (taringa Pākura).
- They are known to steal eggs from each other and this is an indication of their character.
- In New Zealand the Pūkeko is mentioned in the Māori myth ‘How the Kiwi lost her wings’ in which several birds of the forest are asked to come down from the trees to eat the bugs on the ground and save the forest, but all give excuses except the Kiwi who is willing to give up his colours and the ability to fly. The Pūkeko’s excuse is that it looks too damp down there, and he does not want to get his feet wet. The Pūkeko is punished for his reluctance and told he must now live forever in the swamps.
- By one account the Pukeko is the spawn of Punga (the ancestor of sharks and reptiles - enemies of the people) but was claimed by relative (and high chief) Tawhaki. Tawhaki cut himself while cutting timber and so daubed the Pukeko’s forehead with his own blood to signify their bond. So the mischievous Pukeko gets his character from Punga and his noble badge from Tawhaki.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pukeko
Other Photos you might enjoy:
Purple Swamp Hen
Kea (the carnivorous, well kinda) Parrot