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A Home for the Matuku

Right now, with the support of our generous partners, we are working with some amazing landowners to restore wetland habitat for this crazy guy: the matuku, or Australasian bittern.

We love matuku! Some fun facts about these distinctive birds:

  • The “nose in the air” pose you see in our shot is typical bittern stuff. This pose helps camouflage the matuku, concealing them from both predators and prey.

  • These guys and gals are BIG! From bill tip to tail tip, they’re around 70cm - bigger than a white-faced heron.

  • During breeding season, male matuku have a deep, booming call. Department of Conservation has a great recording.

And then there's the serious stuff....

  • Matuku habitat in the Waikato has been dramatically reduced due to changes in land use and climate.

  • Sadly, fewer than 1,000 matuku are left in Aotearoa. This gives them the same conservation status as kiwi.

The wonderful Rumball/Healy family are doing what they can to help. The family has dedicated land (pictured below) to convert to wetland habitat for matuku and friends. This area neighbours a much reduced matuku stronghold and will feature the open rush land, wading pools and hollows that bittern thrive in, surrounded by native trees giving these secretive birds some cover.

What a privilege to be involved in this special project!

Red lines show the fenceline for this project (now complete).

We’re always on the lookout for new projects. If you’d like us to help you give wildlife a hand on your property, we’d love to hear from you. Alternatively, please check out our Givealittle page to support our work on this and other projects.

Photographs by Kevin Hutchinson


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