Family Rails, Gallinules, Coots (Rallidae)


Takahe (Porphyrio mantelli)


French: German: Spanish:

Notornis Mantelli


, 1848,

Waingongoro, North Island, New Zealand


Occasionally placed in genus Notornis. Previously considered conspecific with extant P. hochstetteri of South I; recent studies suggest that the two are sufficiently distinct in biometrics and genetics to be treated as separate species, having evolved independently#R#R. [Note that, in earlier BirdLife International publication#R, name P. mantelli was incorrectly assigned to the extant form, while name P. hochstetteri was incorrectly assigned to the extinct form.] Monotypic.


North I, New Zealand. Known from subfossils from a number of archaeological sites#R and one historical record in 1894#R.

Estimated year of extinction 1894. Demise attributed to anthropogenic modifications of habitat combined with hunting and predation.

Descriptive notes

63 cm; stands c. 50 cm tall; male 2250–3250 (2673) g, female 1850–2600 (2268) g. Largest living rallid; thickset, flightless species with reduced wings, massive... read more


Contact call a single rising squawk, “klowp”. Alarm call a low, resonant “boomp... read more


Alpine tussock grassland; also subalpine scrub and beech (Nothofagus) forest in winter,... read more

Food and feeding

Eats predominantly leaf bases of Chionochloa tussocks and other alpine grass species; leaf bases of Cyperaceae, grass seeds and... read more


Mainly Oct–Dec; eggs occasionally to mid-Feb and small young late Mar (probably from renesting after failure). Monogamous; pair-bond... read more


Sedentary and flightless. Holds grassland territories until snow prevents feeding, when descends... read more

Status and conservation

EXTINCT. Long extinct. Known only from subfossils. Formerly widespread on North I. Habitat reduced by spread of forest in post-glacial Pleistocene–Holocene,... read more

Recommended citation

Taylor, B., Kirwan, G.M., Christie, D.A., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). Takahe (Porphyrio mantelli). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 15 November 2018).