A pair of takahe have surprised staff at Cape Sanctuary with the hatching of a chick less than four months after their arrival on the peninsula.
The breeding pair Oraka and Orehou's fluffy chick was first sighted by staff on December 29, after both were transferred to the Hawke's Bay wildlife sanctuary from a rearing facility near Te Anau in September 2012.
Cape Sanctuary manager Tamsin Ward-Smith said with takahe normally breeding at about 3-years-old, female Oraka, at 2, was starting young.
"We are thrilled that the pair has settled so well at the sanctuary and enjoy their coastal home," she said. "It's the first time in many hundreds of years that takahe have roamed the Hawke's Bay region, so receiving a pair here at the sanctuary in September was a very special occasion."
The takahe is an endangered species, and classified as critically threatened. They number less than 300, with only 50 breeding pairs known. The North Island species became extinct in the 1800s and the takahe being established at Cape Sanctuary is the South Island species.
The chick will be managed as part of the wider takahe metapopulation and could be transferred to another location when it is independent of its parents to be paired with another bird.
Cape Sanctuary plans to establish three more pairs within the sanctuary over the next year. Landowner Andy Lowe said he hoped in following years there would be a "thriving population" to contribute towards the species' long-term recovery.