New Caledonian gallinule

Porphyrio kukwiedei

The New Caledonian gallinule, or Porphyrio kukwiedei, was a species of rail similar to the New Zealand takahēs. Remains of the New Caledonian gallinule were found by paleontologist Jean-Christophe Balouet, of the Parisian Natural History Museum in the Pindai Caves Palaeontological Site. Their morphology was very similar to other animals in the porphyrio genus, like the takahēs or swamphens. Due to only bones being found, their plumage was unknown.


The bones dated to 3000 BCE, and was assumed that they probably died during that period, but two different reports imply they may have survived into the late 1800s. The first report was from the 1860 book Verraux & Des Murs, which said that a purple, turkey-sized bird called N’dino lived in the swamps in New Caledonia. The other report was from the end of the 19th century, which said that the chief of the Kélé tribe mentioned a species of rail about 1.6 ft tall. It resembled a swamphen, with purple plumage, a greyish tail, and a white spot on its throat. 

A portrait of a New Caledonian gallinule