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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 | Video 3

More Information:

Avibase
Arkive
New Zealand Birds
Handbook of the Birds of the World

Content Sources:

CITES
Lexicon of Parrots
BirdLife International
Internet Bird Collection
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.
ML Media Collection Catalogue 77525, Kaka Nestor meridionalis, Robbins, Mark, New Zealand, Dec. 19 1990, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Site
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
Research: Energetics of South Island Kaka feeding on the larvae of Kanuka Longhorn Beetles
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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