Jul 182012


Red Crowned, Cyanoramphus novaezelandai

Yellow Crowned,

Cyanoramphus auriceps

Audio Clip is a group of parakeet “socialisingAudio Clip is a group of parakeet “socialising”

Red Crowned Parakeet, Note the beak, and the dexterous use of claw to manipulate food.

We have two species of parakeet on Stewart Island. Red Crowned and the slightly smaller Yellow Crowned. And in fact neither Iris nor I can ever remember seeing Yellow Crowned anywhere other than Ulva Island, where they are very much in the minority. I have no idea why this should be, Ulva Island is only from half to a mile or so from the main Island and additionally is within Paterson Inlet.
Parakeets have been one of many bird species to have enjoyed much enhanced breeding success since the rate eradication program on Ulva Island in the ’90s, and subsequently the Red Crowned are much more evident around the Village on mainland Stewart Island. A spill over from the Ulva success, but why this has not happened within the Yellow Crowned population is a mystery. The books tell me that Yellow Crowned favour mixed podocarp heavy forest …. which is exactly what Stewart & Ulva Islands are…. while the Red Crowned is more at home in lighter forest and scrub lands. As I said, a puzzle.


Parent feeding juvenile (small beak in hole)

Both species are cavity nesters, and generally reasonably low to the ground. They appear to be quite omniverous, taking insects from tree trunks and the forest floor, tender shoots, fruit and I have seen Red Crowned grazing the Kamahi racimes much like lawn-mowers.
When I first started work on Ulva Island I never saw parakeet on the forest floor, now, with the removal of competing rats from Ulva many of our sightings are of birds busily scratching like domestic hens on the paths and amongst the forest litter.
Though generally seen as single birds or as pairs, we do occasionall find large noisy groups socialising and although predominantly Red Crowned, who are of course the more numerous, the groups will often have a lone Yellow Crowned as part of the mix. They will apparently cross mate, although what the progeny look like I have no idea.
As can be seen their beak is more budgie-like than parrot. But it is extremly strong and sharp. We had a PHD student living here working on Tui, catching them in a mist net. Her partner assisted her on Ulva, and a by-catch was several Parakeet. He didn’t have gloves… a serious oversight… and his fingers and hand literally had lumps out of them. As if he had been attacked by a maniacal ticket snapper.

[flowplayer src=’http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Untitled.mp4′ width=640 height=480 splashend=show splash=’http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/IMG_2216-2.jpg’ autoplay=false]

Peter Tait

Peter Tait

Peter Tait is a professional nature guide based at Stewart Island, New Zealand, and he works primarily on Ulva Island Open Sanctuary. Peter has been resident on the Island for over 40 years and was one time Forest Ranger in Charge of Stewart Island. Fishing followed forestry and was in turn followed by Talisker, a 17m charter yacht. He is qualified Skipper Deep Sea Fishing Vessel. In addition to guiding Peter and his wife Iris are hosts at Sails Ashore Lodge.

Leave a Comment

  2 Responses to “Parakeet, Kakariki, sp Cyanoramphus”

  1. Hi Oliver, Every country is special, and enjoying FoW shows us just how special. But I’m a bit prejudiced and think that we really do live in paradise.

    We’ll look forward to your arrival.

    Cheers. Peter 

  2. Very nice bird :) I really appreciate your blog. Hope one day I will go to New Zealand !

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland? » [4182 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the slaughter of birds in southern Europe be stopped? » [2477 Views]
  3. Dive-bombing kingfisher’s underwater hunt caught on camera » [2380 Views]
  4. POLL: Is Florida’s Bear Hunt Necessary? » [1988 Views]
  5. Scientist under attack after he kills bird that took decades to find » [1748 Views]
  6. POLL: Should Africa’s poachers be shot on sight? » [1077 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the trapping of songbirds in Malta be stopped? » [1053 Views]
  8. Video: Meet the Dog Trained to Take Down Poachers » [1046 Views]
  9. POLL: Should fur farming in Finland be banned? » [902 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the EU ban the import of lion hunt trophies? » [849 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should lion canned hunting be banned? » [14270 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [11310 Views]
  3. POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland? » [9820 Views]
  4. POLL: Should wildlife hunting contests be permitted in Idaho? » [8449 Views]
  5. POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [8140 Views]
  6. POLL: Should Africa’s poachers be shot on sight? » [6714 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the slaughter of wolves in British Columbia be banned? » [6083 Views]
  8. POLL: Should whales and dolphins be kept in captivity for our entertainment? » [5278 Views]
  9. Komodo and its Dragons » [4552 Views]
  10. POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [4136 Views]