New Zealand’s Parrots

A friend of mine is moving to New Zealand soon because her husband landed a prime job there. I told her I would be sending her a list of birds I wanted. Of course, it’s not legal to export birds out of the lands down under; they have enough issues with introduced predators and disappearing habitat without the pet trade making things worse.

Will there ever be a day when birds of the world can relax and increase in numbers where they belong? Let’s believe there will be. Keep thinking those good thoughts, because they will certainly help more than negative ones.

kea, the bad boy parrot

To see what condition the New Zealand parrots are in right now, here’s a web page with a list of them. However, it’s a little confusing and the kakariki is listed over and over. This list is better and points out that the parrots and parakeets native there hang out with penguins. I had never realized that.

Terra Nature also gives a current sitrep (situation report) on the status of the bird. It’s not pretty. Keas are doing okay because they have turned to scavenging. They are thought to be the most intelligent bird in the world. My African grays wish to discuss that with the kea representatives.

Kakapo are thankfully doing better, with a record number of chicks hatched in 2008 and a total population of about 100 birds. I certainly hope Stephen Fry’s cameraman is thrilled to hear that. Undoubtedly that short film of his encounter with Sirocco put the kakapo on everyone’s radar and helped with funding for the project.

kakapo or owl parrot

People from New Zealand are often referred to as kiwis. The bird kiwi is in sad decline and likewise, is the kaka parrot. The mainland population of the parrot is predominantly male. Females and chicks are easy prey to the introduced predator, the stoat. The safest populations are on the islands and in protected, predator-free sanctuaries.


New Zealand’s red-crowned parrot is holding out on Stewart’s Island. The orange-fronted parrot is highly endangered. Presently, only 100-200 birds remain in two valleys in Arthurs Pass National Park and Lake Sumner Forest Park in North Canterbury. To stem this downward spiral, birds are being translocated to predator-free Chalky Island in Fiordland.

Reischek’s parakeet

Four more parrots are found in the country, but all seem to be in the midst of a debate on genetics and relation to other species. However, it works out, the birds need to be helped by people who caused most of the damage in the first place. Keep thinking those good thoughts. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.



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