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New Zealand Parrots


New Zealand Parrots

New Zealand Parrots

The region of New Zealand is home to a small yet unique species of parrots that due to a long period of being cut-off have acquired specialized habits. This group has endured much as a consequence of pressures produced by the nation's comparatively recent occupation by humans, first by Polynesians, subsequently succeeded by Europeans.
Because of destruction and change of habitats and the entry of competitors and predators, the parrots together with several other endemic species of New Zealand, have vanished from a lot of their previous range.


These species are today found in drastically less numbers or survive only as protected colonies in areas which are isolated such as predator-free, small islands.

There are 6 indigenous parrot species in New Zealand, these are the Kea, Kakapo, Kaka, Red-crowned Kakariki, Antipodes Island Parakeet, and Yellow-crowned Kakariki.

To be sure, the Kakapo is the strangest parrot in the world and today, one of the most rare. It places as being one of the oldest and specialized species of parrot. Regrettably these very attributes have added to its unfitness to adjust to the large number of environmental forces brought on by Western settlement.

The Kakapo had once been a wide-ranging bird over both main islands, but had in all probability started to decline, at least on the North Island, before the arrival of the European settlers in the first part of the 1800s. The consequences of massive forest and bush clearance together with the quick dissemination of a wide array of predators such as cats, dogs, mustelids, and rats, resulted in a rapid decrease in the number of Kakapo and by the middle of the 1900s, the species was almost wiped out. One of the main reasons the Kakapo buckled under to these forces so quickly was because of their flightless plight. They are the world’s only flightless parrot and are capable only of gliding from branch to land. Their tree-living activities are limited to scrambling about in the forest like possums, and breeding always occurs at or just below ground level, leaving both parents, young and eggs extremely vulnerable to predators.


The world’s only true alpine parrot is the Kea and its distribution is limited to the high country and alps of the South Island. Its eerie sounds reverberate about the exposed bluffs and solitary rock canyons which are its preferred haunts, frequently well above the tree-lined, snow covered region below. The Kea is a drab, big, olive-green colored parrot almost the same in overall shape, but of a heavier weight, to the Long-billed Corella. 

Similar to the Corellas, the Kea also has a long thin beak suited for digging into the ground to draw out roots, shoots, and bulbs. Keas are well adjusted to the extreme environment and climate in which they occupy, being self-seekers, feeding upon everything from plant matter to scavenging off dead animals.

The Kea’s smaller relative is the less famous Kaka, which is basically drab, brown colored parrot nearly the shape and size of a Glossy Black Cockatoo with the same powerful, heavy bill suitable for splitting into wood in search of grubs, insects, and other invertebrates.

North Island are found on its slopes.

NZ Parrots



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