Brown Teal

Common name(s) Brown Teal/Pāteke

Scientific name Anas Chlorotis

Threat classification At risk - recovering

Species profile

The Brown Teal/pāteke is a small brown dabbling duck that once may have been the most common duck species found throughout mainland New Zealand. Unlike other duck species in New Zealand, these birds are mainly active in the evening and at night and can be difficult to observe during daylight hours.
Several factors have contributed to the dramatic decline in numbers for this species. Introduced predators such as rats and mustelids, as well as human activities such as habitat clearance and unsustainable hunting practises have led to the Brown Teal becoming New Zealand’s rarest mainland duck species.


Wild populations are now restricted to Great Barrier Island and coastal valleys of eastern Northland. However, several self-sustaining populations, utilising captive bred birds, have been established at suitable locations throughout New Zealand.


Due to being fiercely territorial, the biggest challenge for the Trust is ensuring that social stress is kept to a minimum. Due to at times holding a large number of birds, careful attention must be paid to both flocks of juveniles as well as breeding pairs to reduce the risk of behavioural problems arising.
Like most endemic New Zealand species, the biggest challenge facing the recovery of Brown Teal are introduced predators such as feral cats and mustelids. Intensive trapping and other methods of pest control are required at all release sites to ensure birds are protected.

ICWT contribution to breeding programme

ICWT plays a crucial role in the captive breeding programme for this species. As well as holding the most captive breeding pairs, all birds that are bred in captivity at other facilities are transferred to our site for pre-release hardening and preparation. Approximately 150 to 200 birds are produced for release each year which has contributed greatly to the recovery of this species.

Future aspirations

The current strategy is proving to be effective in aiding the recovery of pāteke.


  • Department Of Conservation – Species management
  • Air New Zealand – transportation
  • Several other captive breeding facilities around New Zealand
    • Kiwi Birdlife Park
    • DOC Te Anau Bird Sanctuary
    • Orana Wildlife Park
    • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
    • Nga Manu Nature Reserve
    • Wildbase Recovery
    • Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre
    • Hamilton Zoo
    • Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park
    • Auckland Zoo
    • Rainbow Springs Nature Park