One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large flightless New Zealand rail with heavily built legs and feet.
Gallirallus australis, family Rallidae
- ‘Gangly yet beautifully coloured with its bright indigo feathers, glossy black wings, and vivid red beak and legs, the pukeko is a member of the same family as the weka.’
- ‘We shifted inland a bit to a little farmlet and at that time there were weka everywhere in Gisborne.’
- ‘Bellbird, yellow-breasted tit, fantail, grey warbler and silvereye were common in all the forests and weka and robins were found in some areas.’
- ‘I see a weka, the most common of the flightless ones, out by day whereas kiwis walk by night.’
- ‘Ornithologists on an expedition to the Calayan Island in the Babuyan Islands in the Philippines have discovered a rare near-flightless rail, related to New Zealand's weka.’
Mid 19th century: from Maori, imitative of its cry.
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