The New Zealand Kaka: Distribution and Habitat

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  • Topic: Kea, New Zealand, Parrots
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  • Published : June 1, 2011
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The New Zealand Kaka is a medium sized parrot, around 45 cm (18 in) in length and weighing about 550 g, and is closely related to the Kea, but has darker plumage and is more arboreal. The forehead and crown are greyish-white and the nape is greyish-brown. The neck and abdomen are more reddish, while the wings are more brownish. Both sub-species have a strongly patterned brown/green/grey plumage with orange and scarlet flashes under the wings; color variants which show red to yellow coloration especially on the breast are sometimes found. This group of parrots is unusual, retaining more primitive features lost in most other parrots, because it split off from the rest around 100 million years ago[1]. The calls include a harsh ka-aa and a whistling u-wiia.[2]

[edit] Distribution and habitat
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), with over 100 chicks hatched since their reintroduction in 2002.[3] [edit] Behaviour

The New Zealand Kaka, like many parrots, uses its feet to hold its food Kaka are mainly arboreal and occupy mid to high canopy. Often seen flying across valleys or calling from the top of emergent trees. They are very gregarious and move in large flocks often containing Kea where present. [edit] Diet

The New Zealand Kaka feeds on fruits, berries, seeds, flowers, buds, nectar and invertebrates. It uses its strong beak to shred the cones of the kauri tree to obtain the seeds.[4] It has a brush tongue with which it feeds on nectar, and it uses its strong beak to dig out the grubs of the longhorn beetle. [edit] Nesting

New Zealand Kaka make their nests in hollow trees, laying clutches of 2 to 4 eggs in late winter. Both parents assist in feeding the chicks. In a good fruiting year pairs can double clutch often...
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