Saturday, January 29, 2022

Nocturnal activity of the western weka (Gallirallus australis australis) in an open environment

TitleNocturnal activity of the western weka (Gallirallus australis australis) in an open environment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsLamb, SD, Taylor, HR, Powlesland, R
Type of ArticleFull article
Keywordsactivity, behaviour, Gallirallus australis australis, moonlight, nocturnal, weather, Weka


Understanding how animal behaviours are affected by external factors such as time of day/year and weather conditions is fundamental to understanding the basic biology of a species and can thus help with conservation management. Weka (Gallirallus australis) is typically crepuscular in its habits, but there is some evidence to suggest that it can also be nocturnal. We conducted a longitudinal study of the nocturnal habits of the western weka (G. australis australis) located at Manaroa in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds. We used model selection information criterion to examine how the numbers of weka in an open environment (lawn) changed with time of night and season, as well as differing weather and moonlight conditions. In addition, we undertook night-time behavioural observations during a four-month subset of the study period. Numbers of weka declined through the night and increased non-linearly around dawn. Weka were more likely to be present during moonlit nights and at warmer temperatures during the evening. There was considerable seasonal variation, with the highest number of weka during autumn and lowest during summer. Behavioural observations demonstrated that weka were active throughout the night, with foraging being the most frequently-observed behaviour.


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