New Zealand South Island Kākā Parrot (Nestor meridionalis) © Venture Southland
The South Island Kaka is a lively native parrot with a white head and a bright flash of red on the underside of its wings - its harsh cry sounds like its name. Relatively common in the forests of Fiordland and Stewart Island, kaka are good mimics and were used by Maori hunters as decoys to attract other birds.
It has greatly declined, in part from habitat loss, in part because of introduced wasps, possums and bees, which compete with the Kaka for the honeydew excreted by scale insects. Research has shown that this honeydew is very important for breeding birds, especially those breeding in southern beech forests. The difficult nature of controlling the wasps makes the New Zealand Kaka’s future very uncertain.
Location: New Zealand
- Kākā translates to parrot in Maori
- The New Zealand Kaka lives in lowland and mid-altitude native forest.
- Its strongholds are currently the offshore reserves of Kapiti Island, Codfish Island and Little Barrier Island.
- It is breeding rapidly in the mainland island sanctuary at Zealandia (Karori Wildlife Sanctuary)
- Over 100 chicks hatched since their reintroduction in 2002.
the name of the Kākā (Nestor meridionalis) comes from the Māori language word for (not surprisingly) “parrot” | South Island, New Zealand | +