Chenonetta finschi (van Beneden, 1875:123)

Finsch’s duck



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Anas finschi Van Beneden, 1875: Ann. Soc. Géol. Belgique 2: 123, pl. 3 – Earnscleugh Cave, Otago.; Euryanus [sic] finschi (Van Beneden, 1875:123); Oliver 1930, New Zealand Birds, 1st edition: 220.; Euryanas finschi (Van Beneden, 1875:123); Checklist Committee 1990, Checklist Birds N.Z.: 105.


Conservation Status


Last record: Holocene

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



New Zealand


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Van Beneden, P. J. (1875). Un oiseau fossile nouveau des cavernes de la Nouvelle Zelande. Annales de la Société géologique de Belgique 2: 123-130. 


Other references:

Adams, L. (2013). Finsch’s duck. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. Available at:

BirdLife International. (2014). Chenonetta finschi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. ( Downloaded on 26 July 2014.

BirdLife International. 2017. Chenonetta finschi (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T62239833A119205634. Accessed on 30 June 2022.

Chapman, B. (1986). Bone remains in Kings Cave, Cave, South Canterbury. N.Z. Speleological Bulletin 7(135): 440-444.

Checklist Committee (OSNZ). (2010). Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica (4th ed.). Ornithological Society of New Zealand & Te Papa Press, Wellington. [p. 40-41]

Checklist Committee (OSNZ). (2022). Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand (5th edition). Ornithological Society of New Zealand Occasional Publication No. 1. Wellington: Ornithological Society of New Zealand. [p. 32]

Clark, Geoffrey R., Petchey, Peter, McGlone, Matthew S. and Bristow, Peter. (1996). Faunal and Floral Remains from Earnscleugh Cave, Central Otago, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 26(3): 363-380. [Abstract]

Hamilton, A. (1893). On the fissures and caves at Castle Rocks, Southland; with a description of the existing and extinct  birds found in them. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 25: 88-106.

Holdaway RN (1999) Introduced predators and avifaunal extinction in New Zealand. In MacPhee RDE, ed., Extinctions in Near Time: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences, pp. 189–238. Kluwer Academic/Plenum, New York.

Holdaway, Richard N., Jones, Martin D. and Athfield, Nancy R. Beavan. (2002). Late Holocene extinction of Finsch’s duck (Chenonetta finschi), an endemic, possibly flightless, New Zealand duck. Journal of The Royal Society of New Zealand 32(4): 629-651.

Holdaway, Richard N., Roberts, Richard G., Beavan-Athfield, Nancy R., Olley, Jon M. and Worthy, Trevor H. (2002). Optical dating of quartz sediments and accelerator massspectrometry 14C dating of bone gelatin and moa eggshell: a comparison of age estimates for non-archaeological deposits in New Zealand. Journal of The Royal Society of New Zealand 32(3): 463-505.

Holdaway, Richard N., Worthy, Trevor H. and Tennyson, A. J. D. (2001). A working list of breeding bird species of the New Zealand region at first human contact. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 119-187.

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Livezey, Bradley. (1997). A phylogenetic classification of waterfowl (Aves: Anseriformes), including selected fossil species. Annals of Carnegie Museum 66: 457-496.

McCulloch, B. D. (1975). Faunal remains from a cave at Waikari, North Canterbury. Unpublished BSc Honours Thesis, University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

Medway, David G. (1971). Sub-fossil avian remains from the Awakino - Mahoenui area. Notornis 18(3): 218-219.

Millener, P. R. (1981). The Quaternary avifauna of the North Island, New Zealand. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Paulin, C. D. (1973). Sub-fossil avian remains from two limestone caves in North Taranaki. Mauri Ora 1: 95-98.

Rawlence, N. J., Wood, J. R., Scofield, R. P., Fraser, C. and Tennyson, Alan J. D. (2012). Soft-tissue specimens from pre-European extinct birds of New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand iFirst 2012: 1-28.

Robertson, H. A., Baird, K. A., Elliott, G. P., Hitchmough, R. A., McArthur, N. J., Makan, T. D., Miskelly, Colin M., O’Donnell, C. F. J., Sagar, P. M., Scofield, R. P., Taylor, G. A. and Michel, P. (2021). Conservation status of birds in Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 36. Department of Conservation, Wellington. 43 pp.

Hugh Robertson, John Dowding, Graeme Elliott, Rod Hitchmough, Colin Miskelly, Colin O’Donnell, Ralph Powlesland, Paul Sagar, Paul Scofield, Graeme Taylor. (2013). Conservation status of New Zealand birds, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 4. 22 pp.

Rothschild, Lionel Walter. (1907). Extinct birds: an attempt to write in one volume a short account of those birds which have become extinct in historical times, that is within the last six or seven hundred years: to which are added a few which still exist, but are on the verge of extinction. London: Hutchinson & Co. XXIX + 243 pp. [p. 103]

Scofield, R. Paul, Montelle, Yann-Pierre and Wood, Jamie. (2012). A significant Holocene mainly avian deposit from southern New Zealand: predator assemblage or pitfall?, pp. 25. In: Worthy, Trevor H. and Göhlich, Ursula B. (eds.). 8th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution, Abstracts.

Tennyson, A. and Martinson, P. (2006). Extinct Birds of New Zealand. Wellington: Te Papa Press.

Tyrberg, Tommy. (2009). Holocene avian extinctions, pp. 63-106. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Van Beneden, J. L. (1877). A new fossil bird, Anas finschi, from the Earnscleugh Caves, Otago, New Zealand. Trans. Proc. N.Z. Inst. 9: 599-602, pl. 2.

Watanabe, Junya. (2017). Quantitative discrimination of flightlessness in fossil Anatidae from skeletal proportions. The Auk 134(3): 672-695.

Williams, G. R. (1962). Extinction and the land and freshwater-inhabiting birds of New Zealand. Notornis 10(1): 15-32.

Wood, Jamie R. (2009). Two Late Quaternary avifaunal assemblages from the Dunback district, eastern Otago, South Island, New Zealand. Notornis 56: 154-157.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1984). Faunal and floral remains from F1, a cave near Waitomo. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 14(4): 367-377.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1988). Loss of flight ability in the extinct New Zealand duck Euryanas finschi. Journal of Zoology, London 215: 619-628.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1997). Fossil deposits in the Hodges Creek Cave System, on the northern foothills of Mt Arthur, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand. Notornis 44(2): 111-124.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1998a). A remarkable fossil and archaeological avifauna from Marfells Beach, Lake Grassmere, South Island, New Zealand. Records of the Canterbury Museum 12(1): 79-176.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1998b). Quaternary fossil faunas of Otago, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 28(3): 421-521. [p. 457-458]

Worthy, Trevor H. (1999a). The role of climatic change versus human impacts—avian extinction on South Island, New Zealand. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 89: 111-123.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1999b, dated 1997). What was on the menu—Avian extinctions in New Zealand.  New Zealand Journal of Archaeology 19: 125-160.

Worthy, Trevor H. (2000). Two late-Glacial avifaunas from eastern North Island - Te Aute and Wheturau Quarry. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 30(1): 1-26.

Worthy, Trevor H. (2004). The Holocene fossil waterfowl fauna of Lake Poukawa, North Island, New Zealand. Tuhinga 15: 77-120.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Holdaway, Richard N. (1993). Quaternary fossil faunas from caves in the Punakaiki area, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 23(3): 147-254.

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Worthy, Trevor H. and Holdaway, Richard N. (1996). Quaternary fossil faunas, overlapping taphonomies, and palaeofaunal reconstruction in North Canterbury, South Island New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 26(3): 275-361.

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Worthy, Trevor H. and Holdaway, Richard N. (2002). The Lost World of the Moa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Mildenhall, D. C. (1989). A late Otiran-Holocene paleoenvironment reconstruction based on cave excavations in northwest Nelson, New Zealand. N.Z. Journal of Geology and Geophysics 32: 243-253.

Worthy, Trevor H., Miskelly, Colin M. and Ching, Bob A. (R.). (2002). Taxonomy of North and South Island snipe (Aves: Scolopacidae: [i]Coenocorypha[/i]), with analysis of a remarkable collection of snipe bones from Greymouth, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 29(3): 231-244.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Olson, Storrs L. (2002). Relationships, adaptations, and habits of the extinct duck Euryanus finschi. Notornis 49: 1-17.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Zhao, J. X. (2006). A late Pleistocene predator-accumulated avifauna from Kids Cave, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand. Alcheringa Special Issue 1: 389-408.

Wragg, Graham M. (1981). The birds of Canterbury: history and present status. A dissertation presented as a requirement for the Diploma in Parks and Recreation (National Parks option). Lincoln College, New Zealand.

Young, H. Glyn, Tonge, Simon J. and Hume, Julian Pender. (1996). Review of Holocene wildfowl extinctions. Wildfowl 47: 167-181.


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