The rangers at Pukaha Mount Bruce, National Wildlife Centre were delighted to discover that the resident takahē couple, Natural and Fomi are sitting on an egg. The egg was discovered on Saturday by Pukaha ranger, Tara Swan. The discovery of the egg, marks the first time there has been a takahē egg laid at the centre for over 20 years.
The female, Fomi , which stands for Friends of Mana Island, arrived at Pukaha Mount Bruce in June of this year. Fomi had resided on Mana Island off the Kapiti Coast since she was hatched there 13 years ago. Fomi came to Pukaha Mount Bruce to be introduced to Natural, the male takahē that resides at Pukaha.
Natural was living alone after the recent passing of his companion, Bud who had passed away at Pukaha Mount Bruce in April. Bud died of natural age related causes. Bud was also a male and the pair happily lived together.
Takahe are not solitary birds they prefer to live in pairs or family groups. Fomi was sent to live with Natural at Pukaha Mount Bruce for this reason. Fomi, the female takahē had not bred on Mana Island for the last three years so it was assumed her prime breeding days were finished. Pukaha’s resident male is aged 18 years old so it is also assumed he is no longer an active breeding takahē.
All these factors combined indicate that there is a likely chance that this egg is infertile. Although from the moment the takahē were introduced there has been courtship and breeding between them witnessed by the Pukaha rangers.
The egg will incubate for around 30 days and the Pukaha team are hopeful that it will produce the first takahē chick hatched at Pukaha Mount Bruce for two decades.