Brown Teal / Pateke
T A X O N O M Y
Vernacular name: Brown Teal, pateke (common name)
Scientific name: Anas chlorotis
Family/Subfamily: Anatidae: Anatinae (Ducks)
The Brown Tea,l Anas chlorotis, or pateke, is an endemic New Zealand species of
the worldwide Anas genus of dabbling ducks within the family Anatidae. Within
this large genus, Brown Teal are included in the informal grouping of Austral
Teal. From New Zealand, the grey teal A. gracilis, Campbell Island teal A. nesiotis, and Auckland Island teal A. aucklandica are also included.
The Brown Teal recovery plan followed Marchant and Higgins (1990), based on unpublished genetic research which supported the bird’s specific status, and the adoption of species
status for the flightless subantarctic teal recovery plan. For consistency, this plan follows the Brown Teal recovery plan.
DOC Status: Nationally Endangered
IUCN Status: Endangered
The Brown Teal is fully protected by the Wildlife Act 1953. The Department of
Conservation has classified it as Nationally Endangered, with a current distribution
within the Northland, Auckland, Corromandel, Napier, Wellington and Southland conservancies.
Based on IUCN criteria, the Brown Teal is internationally classified as Endangered.
Brown teal were historically distributed throughout the lowland freshwater
wetlands of the New Zealand mainland and occurred on many offshore islands,
as well as Stewart Island and Chatham Island. The Brown Teal recovery plan
and two previous reviews of historical data document the species’ known historic
range and summarizes its decline over the past 150 years.
Brown teal are largely restricted to two existing wild populations on Great Barrier Island, and the east coast of Northland where numbers are steadily increasing in both sites.
With successfull releases of captive birds back into the wild from the Brown Teal captive breeding program, we now have sustainable populations established in Corromandel, Tawharnui, Cape Kidnappers and Tutukaka. With Purerua (Kerikeri) and Arthur Valley (Milford Sound) still in progress.
Small numberss exist on Little Barrier Island, Rakitu Island, Kawau Island,
Moturoa Island, Tiritiri Matangi Island, and Kapiti Island, the last three of which
derive from successful reintroduction’s of captive reared birds. There are a few
pairs scattered in parts of Northland. A captive population of Brown Teal numbers
around 30 pairs of birds.
Even thought the population increased significantly over the past 10 years due to the great efforts gone on to save the species, both securing the two wild sites and due to the success captive breeding for release program. Even with all this great work which has changed the population trend from a decline towards extinction to now steadily increasing and in the recovery phase, numbers are still fewer than 2000 – 2500 Brown Teal in the wild, making the species the rarest waterfowl on the New Zealand mainland. The Department of Conservation, the volunteer captive breeding facilities (20), community groups and sponsorship partners have all helped make this program the success it is today.