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Tasmanian Native-hen

A Tasmanian Native-Hen (Tribonyx mortierii) looking for food in a grassy field
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Scientific Name: Tribonyx mortierii

Size: 43 to 51 cm

What does it look like?

The Tasmanian Native-hen is a large flightless bird, with grey legs, yellowish bill, reddish eye and large, flattened tail. The plumage is generally olive-brown above and grey below, with white patches on the thighs and some white flecking in the wings. It is similar to the smaller Black-tailed Native-hen Tribonyx ventralis of the Australian mainland, which has been recorded as a vagrant in Tasmania. 

Where is it found?

Endemic to Tasmania.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Tasmanian Native-hen feeds in grasslands, usually in close proximity to wetlands, on seeds, grasses and some insects. Small breeding groups can occur, with all males within the group breeding with multiple females. 

Interesting facts

Native-hens can be a nuisance to some farmers by grazing crops, particularly legumes, although, the damage is insignificant to that caused by other grazers.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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