It seems the pūkeko, as a more recent arrival in Aotearoa (around 1000 years ago), produce smarter chicks. Unlike pooks, the takahē evolved on an isolated island, free from introduced predators (until humans arrived),so they don't recognise introduced ferrets and stoats for the chick-killers they are.
When a perky pūkeko spots a predator they sound an alarm call (they have different calls for air predators (hawks) and ground ones (stoats and cats). As one is shrieking "blue murder" another will lead the chicks away from the danger as the other(s) attack the predator and try and drive it away.
Pūkeko-raised takahē chicks can learn this sort of assertive behaviour and, hopefully one day, transfer it onto their own chicks to ensure greater survival of the species.
Pop back to Te Swamp Gallery