Saturday, 19 May 2012


Nestor meridionalis

Photo by Alcino Cunha (Wikipedia)

Common name:
kaka (en); kaka (pt); nestor superbe (fr); káka (es); kaka (de)

Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

This species is endemic to New Zealand, having a very fragmented range both in South island and North Island.

The kaka is 40-45 cm long and weighs 390-560 g.

This species is mostly found in temperate forests, but also in moist tropical and sub-tropical forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

They feed on fruits, berries, seeds, flowers, buds, nectar, sap and invertebrates and honeydew.

Kakas breed in October-May. They nest in natural cavities in old or dying trees, where the female lays 1-8 white eggs. The female incubates the eggs alone for 20-23 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge around 70 days after hatching, but only become fully independent some 4-5 month later.

IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a relatively small and fragmented breeding range. The global population is estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals and is estimated to be undergoing a very rapid population decline. Originally the may threats to the kaka were forest clearance and hunting, but presently they are severely affected by predation from introduced species. Stouts Mustela erminea kill adults, especially incubating females, while brush-tailed possums Trichosurus vulpecula and black rats Rattus rattus prey on their eggs. Introduced wasps Vespula spp. compete for honeydew, which is an important food source in some parts of the range.

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