The Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis), or pāteke, is a small dabbling duck species endemic to New Zealand historically distributed throughout the lowland freshwater wetlands.
The brown teal’s omnivorous diet, restricted annual range and mainly terrestrial lifestyle give it a unique ecological niche among waterfowl, somewhat akin to a wetland rodent, and it serves as a classic example of the influence of selective forces that operated on birds in pre-human New Zealand.
The Brown Teal (pāteke) was once widespread throughout New Zealand but is now rare and restricted to Great Barrier Island and coastal valleys of eastern Northland and selected reintroduction sites.
The species has suffered an ongoing decline in numbers and range since the late nineteenth century.
These four pāteke breeding pairs, translocated from Christchurch's Peacock Springs, were settled into wetlands on Rotoroa Island in 2015 and 2016- a move that has boosted advocacy and educational opportunities for this endangered endemic waterfowl, as well as contributed to growing its wild population.
There are currently between 2000 – 2500 brown teal living in a wild state in New Zealand, making it New Zealand’s rarest waterfowl species on the mainland.
The new arrivals, approved for transfer by the Department of Conservation's pāteke recovery group, are all fitted with transmitters to enable regular monitoring.
The new resident pāteke will hopefully continue to breed and disperse naturally as there are wild pāteke on Coromandel and Great Barrier Island, both a relatively short flight away.