|Pūkeko (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus) from wikipedia|
|A takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)from here|
Given their close relation to each other, the pūkeko and takahē are similar in appearance. Both species are bluish in colour with bright red legs and bills. However, the takahē is stockier and has a heavier bill. Furthermore, the takahē is flightless whereas the pūkeko is volant (i.e. it flies), albeit reluctantly, which is typical among rails. As with many New Zealand birds, and island birds in general, flightlessness is common and evolves in the absence of mammalian predators or competitors.
For some more pictures of pūkeko and other NZ native birds check out Chthoniid's Wildlife Photography and for some takahē videos check out the Deparment of Conservation. Also look out for a follow-up post on takahē that will be a little bit sciencier (that is a real word) demonstrating how modern genetic techniques have helped us learn so much more about species distributions. There is a hint about it in the species name for takahē.