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As of 15 August 2007, the Tasmanian native hen was listed as protected under Tasmanian legislation. The sedentary nature of the species means that groups hold sharply defined territories of up to 5 acres (2.0 ha), and repel transgression into their territory vigorously with calls and displays. Very sensible. There will be a group of 3-5 birds, with only one female. Birds will usually breed once per year, however in good years, with high availability of food, two broods may be produced. Lovely story Pauline. [3], The Tasmanian native hen is a sedentary species, living around open grassy areas close to water. Watch this YouTube video and you will understand why. Half of a population are monogamous, and half are polygamous (a bit like humans). Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Rabbits would destroy short crops, but the birds attacked them when the crops were fully grown. They  are flightless, but can motor along  at up to 50 kilometres an hour. The Water Doctor’s Daughters – Malvern Walk, Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). }. The polygamy works like this. It was not the amount of grain eaten that was the concern, but the damage done to the crops by the birds. [3], Originally described in 1840 as Tribonyx mortierii — the mortierii being in honour of Barthélemy Charles Joseph Dumortier[4] — this species goes by various names. The Tasmanian native hen (also Tasmanian native-hen or, in some specialist sources, Tasmanian nativehen - see below) (Tribonyx mortierii) is a flightless rail and one of twelve species of birds endemic to the Australian island of Tasmania. (function( timeout ) { Piyura kitina is also the name for Risdon Cove. Please reload CAPTCHA. Although there is a healthy population size and no significant falls have been measured, there is concern about the possible arrival[25] of the red fox in Tasmania and the possible impact that it will have on this and other species. The bill is greenish yellow and the eyes are bright red. Some might say it’s one of their better exhibits (only joking). 'Tasmania's shrub of the decade', native plant expert, horticulturalist Kris Schaffer calls it. This may be because they would  simply shoot across my vision like the  cartoon character  Roadrunner. The biggest threat to their long term survival would be if foxes ever made their way to Tasmania. All other native Tasmanian birds are listed as protected under the state's Nature Conservation Act 2002. The Tasmanian native hen (also Tasmanian native-hen or, in some specialist sources, Tasmanian nativehen - see below) (Tribonyx mortierii) is a flightless rail and one of twelve species of birds endemic to the Australian island of Tasmania. Adults measure between 43 … Their nests are located in long grass,  so the eggs (4 to 9) are fairly vulnerable. [15], The Tasmanian native hen is a stocky flightless bird between 43 and 51 centimetres (17 and 20 in) in length. [4] The species has a reputation among farmers as an agricultural pest. The birds are only found in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre lists piyura kitina as a term for little native hens. Native hens prefer to live where there is water, by a stream, river or dam. Sad they were hunted in earlier years.Misunderstood like so many other. Although many flightless birds have a history of extinction at the hands of humans,[2] the Tasmanian native hen has actually benefited from the introduction of European-style agricultural practices in Tasmania. The legs are thick and powerful, with a grey scaly appearance and sharp claws. notice.style.display = "block"; [19] A population introduced to Maria Island is now well established. Hen feeding chick (photo courtesy of Kim Dunstan). The Tasmanian Native-hen - Tribonyx mortierii - is a flightless, moderately large, bird (45 to 48 centimetres). All Along the River:Tales From the Thames. It’s a humorous, but appropriate nickname, because they are distantly related to domestic chickens. It is now considered that the hens do eat their share of grain and fruit, but were  unfairly blamed for  a lot of damage caused by other species. This means it is an offence to take or have in possession a Tasmanian native hen unless authorised by a permit. The three remaining unprotected native species are the forest raven, the great cormorant, and the little pied cormorant. [3], The breeding structure may be monogamous or polygamous, usually polyandrous. Now the native hens have a very interesting social structure. Home → History → TASMANIA’S OWN ROAD RUNNERS. function() { Foxes are lethal, and not only to our delightful ‘road runners’. The damage to agriculture was extensively studied in the 1960s by M Ridpath and G Meldrum, who found that although there is some damage to crops, rabbits were responsible for more damage. Native hens are large, heavy-bodied, flightless rails. There were also egg hunts, with reports of hundreds of eggs being collected in an afternoon. Tasmanian native hens were part of my 1950s rural childhood, but I must admit I gave them little thought. Tasmanian devils are one of the main predators of both eggs, chicks and adult birds. It is generally common and easily seen around bodies of water that have grassy verges. The underparts are darker with a bluish grey tinge. [3][19] The nest is a rough, flattened grass mattress, among taller grasses and is usually built close to water, or on damp ground. You can listen to the pronunciation here. Description. Although many flightless birds have a history of extinction at the hands of humans, the Tasmanian native hen has actually benefited from the introduction of European-style agricultural practices in Tasmania. Judging from the article below it’s fortunate they did not become extinct, like the Tassie Tiger. [19] It uses its wings when running fast to help it to balance.[22]. Native hens are one of 12 Tasmanian endemic bird species. Prior to this the Tasmanian native hen was one of only four native birds that had no legal protection outside national parks and other reserves in the state of Tasmania—the last of Tasmania's 12 endemic bird species with this dubious status. Yes, it’s a bloomin’ native hen. Tasmanian native hens were part of my 1950s rural childhood, but I must admit I gave them little thought. Enter your email address to receive notification of new stories on this website (your address will not be shown). The best known Tasmanian edible plant today is the Mountain pepperberry. UPDATE – After I posted this story and purely by accident,  I came across  a photo I had taken in the grounds of  Hobart’s Mona Museum  three years ago.

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