Banded rail are rarely seen, as they are well-camouflaged and remain under the cover of wetland vegetation, although their footprints are often seen. They are now mainly found in mangrove and saltmarsh vegetation in the upper North Island. They have disappeared from most of New Zealand since the 1970s, but remain in coastal wetlands in the upper North Island, Marlborough and Nelson, in rush-covered areas and coastal wetlands on Great Barrier Island and in forest and shrubland on the Three Kings Islands and on four islands off Stewart Island.
National Wetland Trust
Banded rail (aka buff-banded rail) used to be scattered throughout New Zealand up until the 70s when threats to their wetland habitats pushed them out to the fringes of mangroves, salt marshes, and offshore islands. Being a secretive and cryptic bird, their buff beauty is rarely seen, and the National Wetland Trust believes it’s time to change that.
In line with our mission to increase the appreciation of wetlands and their values by all New Zealanders, our aim for this campaign is to create awareness of banded rail, who rely on wetlands, while educating kiwis on the value of protecting their habitats.
So, Buffy the Bandit Rail is coming out of camouflage to steal the show in the hope that banded rail can one day thrive throughout Aotearoa again.