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Kaka

 (Nestor meridionalis)

Also known as: New Zealand Kaka

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Kaka feeding
© Shutterstock

Did You Know?

The kaka has a fringed tongue, which helps it to feed on nectar. The only other parrots with this type of adaptation are the lories and lorikeets.

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor meridionalis

Species Profile

Genus: Nestor | Species: meridionalis

Size:

45cm (17.5 in)

Weight:

900g (31.5 oz)

Races including nominate:

two: N.m. meridionalis, N.m. septentrionalis

Colourization Adult:

N.m. meridionalis: Male-forehead to back of neck grey/white; neck and abdomen brown/red; dark red on hindneck, with feathers margined yellow/brown; olive/brown breast; ear coverts yellow/orange; brown back and wings, mantle some feathers margined red; rump to tail coverts red, tipped dark brown; underwing coverts and bars on underwing red; tail brown with lighter tips. Bill brown/grey; eye dark brown.  Female-bill shorter than male, less decurved upper mandible.           
N.m. septentrionalis: Both adults generally duller in colour; back and wings darker olive/brown, feathers margined darker; breast darker brown, hindneck duller red; forehead to back of head pale grey.

Colourization Juvenile:

N.m. meridionalis: As in adult but base of lower mandible yellow.
N.m. septentrionalis: As in adult.

Call:

Calls in flight harsh and grating, also ringing.  Also variety of yodelling notes.

Listen Now

Video Links:

Video 1 | Video 2

More Information:

New Zealand Birds
AvianWeb

Content Sources:

Lexicon of Parrots
CITES
BirdLife International
Internet Bird Collection
ML Media Collection Catalogue 77525, Kaka Nestor meridionalis, Robbins, Mark, New Zealand, Dec. 19 1990, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Site
Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World, Juniper and Parr, 1998
Parrots: Status Survey and Conservation Plan 2000-2004, Snyder, McGowan, Gilardi and Grajal, 2000.
Parrots of the World, Forshaw and Cooper, 1977. 2010 edition
Parrots of the World, Forshaw, 2006.
Parrots in Aviculture, Low, 1992.
Parrots: Their Care and Breeding, Low, 1986.

Click photo to visit gallery

Kaka feeding
© Shutterstock

Did You Know?

The kaka has a fringed tongue, which helps it to feed on nectar. The only other parrots with this type of adaptation are the lories and lorikeets.

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor meridionalis

Species Care

Captive Status:

Rare

Longevity:

Not available

Housing:

Enclosure at least 5m (16.4 ft) square.

Diet:

Seeds, fruits, vegetables, brown bread soaked in nectar, insects such as giant mealworms and larvae.

Enrichment:

Bathing, bird safe chewables, such as wood (fir, pine, elder, willow), heat sterilized pine cones, branches, vegetable tanned leather. Bird-safe rope swings. Puzzle toys where they reach in for food items.

Nest Box Size:

Not available

Clutch Size:

3 to 4

Incubation Time:

28 days

Fledging Age:

9-10 weeks

Hatch Weight:

Not available

Peak Weight:

Not available

Weaning Weight:

Not available

Click photo to visit gallery

Kaka feeding
© Shutterstock

Did You Know?

The kaka has a fringed tongue, which helps it to feed on nectar. The only other parrots with this type of adaptation are the lories and lorikeets.

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor meridionalis

Species Wild Status

World Population:

3750 - 15,000

IUCN Red List Status:

Endangered

CITES Listing:

Appendix II

Threat Summary:

Forest clearing and hunting, as well as predation by species including stoats, black rats and the brush-tailed possum. Introduced wasps compete for food.

Range:

N.m. meridionalis: South and Stewart Islands and larger offshore islands of New Zealand.
N.m. septentrionalis: North Island and some offshore islands.

Habitat:

Restricted to unbroken areas of low to mid altitude Nothofagus and Podocarpus forest. Occasional visitor to gardens and orchards in winter. Between 450-1000m (1476-3280 ft).

Wild Diet:

Eats honeydew, larvae of Kanuka longhorn beetles, mistletoe (flowers and berries), also other fruits, buds, seeds, nectar and sap.

Ecology and Behaviour:

Goes after grubs by whittling away at wood trunks. Occurs in noisy flocks. Are powerful fliers. Active from half an hour before dawn to after dusk. May perform noisy pre-roosting flights. May also be active at night.

Clutch and Egg Size:

3 to 4 elliptical eggs, 41.0 x 31.0mm (1.6 x 1.2 in).

Breeding Season:

November-January

Related Links:

Wikipedia
Arkive
Research: Energetics of South Island Kaka feeding on the larvae of Kanuka Longhorn Beetles
Research: Sex ratio of North Island Kaka, Waihaha Ecological Area, Pureora Forest Park
Research: The role of introduced predators and competitors in the decline of Kaka populations in New Zealand
Research: The reintroduction of Kaka to Mount Bruce Reserve, Wairarapa, New Zealand

Click photo to visit gallery

Kaka feeding
© Shutterstock

Did You Know?

The kaka has a fringed tongue, which helps it to feed on nectar. The only other parrots with this type of adaptation are the lories and lorikeets.

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor meridionalis

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