Porphyrio hochstetteri Meyer, 1883:28

Takahē (Māori), Takahe, South Island takahē, South Island takahe, Notornis, Moho, Takahea (archaic) (used by Matheson, 1940; but see Turbott, 1951b)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Notornis Mantellii Ellman, 1861: Zoologist 19: 7470 – New Zealand. Junior primary homonym of Notornis mantelli Owen, 1848.; Notornis hochstetteri A.B. Meyer, 1883: Abbildungen von Voegel-Skeletten 1(4–5): 28, pls 34–37 – North of Mararoa R., 3.5 miles east Whitestone R. and 9 miles south-east of south end of Lake Te Anau, Fiordland.; Notornis parkeri Forbes, 1892: Trans. N.Z. Inst. 24: 187 – Half a mile east of Patience Bay, Lake Te Anau, Fiordland.; Mantellornis hochstetteri (A.B. Meyer); Mathews & Iredale 1913, Ibis 1 (10th series): 216.; Porphyrio mantelli hochstetteri (A.B. Meyer); Checklist Committee 1990, Checklist Birds N.Z.: 125.; Porphyrio hochstetteri (A.B. Meyer); Holdaway et al. 2001, New Zealand Journ. Zool. 28(2): 132, 178.


Conservation Status

Last record: 1898 (Checklist Committee (OSNZ), 2022:61)

Rediscovered on 20 November 1948

IUCN RedList status: Endangered


North Island

Although only known prehistorically from the North Island (Millener, 1981), a possible historical record from 1894 exists (Phillipps, 1959).


South Island

European discovery, prior to disappearance

Four specimens were collected prior to it's presumed extinction, in 1849, 1851, 1879 and 1898 (Lindsay, 1961). Lindsay (Ibid.) found that all four specimens, [i]contra[/i] prior information about the collection of the first three specimens (supposedly collected under less than ideal conditions), were in fact collected or preserved by skilled persons.


According to a reproduced version of what is presumably an historical article, only three specimens were collected prior to it's presumed extinction. None of the dates, although some of the circumstances, overlapping with those authoritatively given above: 1845, 1878 and 1893.


While missing

A possible record of the species from the South Island in 1910 exists (Cumming, 1953). Matheson (1940) writes: "Circumstantial reports of two birds, one larger than the other, come from the Milford Track, but so far they lack confirmation".



It was then rediscovered on 20 November, 1948



South Island (historically) and North Island (prehistorically), both New Zealand


Biology & Ecology




Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa:

OR.022236 (collected 1851)



Above: South Island Takahe, Porphyrio hochstetteri, collected 1851, probably Deas Cove, Thompson Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand. Gift of the Trustees of the British Museum, 1953. CC BY 4.0. Te Papa (OR.022236)


Above: Notornis mantelli [actually P. hochstetteri]. Plate 23. From the book A history of the birds of New Zealand., 1873, by Johannes Keulemans. Te Papa (RB001176/023a)





Original scientific description:

Meyer, A. B. (1883). [description of Porphyrio hochstetteri]. Abbild. Vog. Skelett., Lief 4 and 5, p. 28, pls. 34-37.


Other references:

Anonymous. (1948). Rediscovering the takahē. Listener 494: 6.

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