03 January 2009

Kaka; Pukaha–Mt Bruce

Kaka (Nestor meridionalis
Aotearoa New Zealand has three endemic species of large parrots. One, the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) ranks among the world's rarest parrots, with a total population of only 90 birds. The population of kea (Nestor notabilis) is estimated at fewer than about 5000 (perhaps substantially less) and declining. Kaka (Nestor meridionalis), while apparently the most numerous with up to about 10,000 birds, are declining rapidly throughout much of mainland New Zealand. Some large, predator-free offshore islands like Little Barrier and Kapiti support high populations of kaka, but on the mainland the females are particularly vulnerable to predation by stoats because they nest in holes in trees. The bird in the photo is part of a wild but human-habituated flock of North Island kaka (N.m. septentrionalis) at Pukaha–Mt Bruce in the Wairarapa.

Internationally, roughly a quarter to a third of all parrot species are threatened in the wild. Charlie at 10,000 birds has an excellent post introducing "Parrot Month", so head on over and enjoy the read and the photos.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

7 comments:

Zhoen said...

The lighting on the beak shows the texture so clearly. My fingers itch to touch.

pohanginapete said...

I'm sure he/she would be delighted to check out your finger, too, Zhoen.

Relatively Retiring said...

What an intelligent eye! How big is he/she, compared wth an African grey?

pohanginapete said...

RR, as I've not seen an African grey, I couldn't say, although from the photos and film I've seen of greys, I'd guess they're a similar size. Kaka are a similar size to kea, but I guess that doesn't help much! Very roughly the size of your crow or raven, I suppose.

nz-ajb said...

I've seen African Greys and Kaka and I'd say Kaka are somewhat more 'robust' but generally around the same sort of size overall. Certainly neither are of Kakapo or cockateil dimensions and both are close to the mid-point I'd guess. Nice photo, as always. I like the 'critter-pics'. :)

pohanginapete said...

nz-ajb, thanks! Good to hear from someone who's seen greys and kaka.

Relatively Retiring said...

Thank you both. I suppose it might be easier to say in that case it's a life-sized portrait, which makes that beak formidable.