One of the most recognisable birds in New Zealand, the Pūkeko (Porphyrio melanotus) is also one of our country’s most beloved birds. Pūkeko populations are abundant across the country, though they’re mostly around wetlands and farmlands. The Pūkeko is affectionately known as a swamp hen, pook, or for some hunters, the blue pheasant.The distinctive Pūkeko is mostly a deep blue colour, sometimes with purple tones, with a black head and upper parts, white feathers under its tail, and a striking red bill with matching red legs. The Pūkeko is seen by New Zealanders as very cheeky and friendly, though it can be aggressive and territorial. Pūkeko are excellent runners and swimmers, and despite the fact that they’re reluctant to take flight, when pushed, they are strong flyers that can cover long distances.
The Pūkeko nesting season usually runs from August to March, though it is not unusual to see baby chicks hatching in late autumn. Pūkeko are cooperative breeders, meaning that multiple male and female birds often share a nest and divide up the responsibilities of incubation of eggs, and the guarding and feeding of chicks.
The 2014 Game Bird Habitat Collection consists of a stamp, miniature sheet, first day cover, miniature sheet first day cover and a hand-numbered and signed limited edition artist print. Each print includes two stamps, one of which is signed by the artist – Jeanette Blackburn.
Jeanette Blackburn is a renowned New Zealand artist, who has been a professional painter for over 45 years. Her wildlife and landscape work is mostly in acrylics to capture the minute details essential in painting wildlife realistically, though she adds finishing touches to her works in oils to give them a 3D effect. Her art promotes the appreciation of New Zealand wildlife and conservation of our natural resources.