Finsch's Duck Chenonetta finschi


Justification of Red List Category
This Extinct species is now thought to have survived beyond the year 1500 and has thus been assessed for the first time.

Population justification
None persisted beyond the 1600s.

Distribution and population

Chenonetta finschi was endemic to New Zealand, where it was abundant and widespread throughout the eastern drylands of the North and South Islands (Adams 2013) but had become extinct by the 17th century.


It was herbivorous and terrestrial, inhabiting grassland, scrublands or open forests and with little association with wetlands or lakes. It probably bred in hollows, tree trunk or fallen logs (the preferred breeding locations of C. jubata) and was most likely a grazer and browser of vegetation, probably mixed with fallen fruit and some invertebrates. It was probably almost flightless (Adams 2013).


It may have become reduced in range and population before human settlement. Extinction occurred after Polynesian settlement but there is uncertainty whether the species persisted into European times. It was probably extremely vulnerable to egg predation by Polynesian rats Rattus exulans, and was hunted by early Maori. Rats may have also competed for food. It is unclear what impact habitat modification would have had on the species (Adams 2013).


Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Symes, A., Martin, R

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Chenonetta finschi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2020.