Jul 182012
 


Parakeets

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.

Nesting

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.

Share this post with your friends





Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
Olivier Esnault

Very nice bird 🙂 I really appreciate your blog. Hope one day I will go to New Zealand !
Regards

wpDiscuz

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should the tradition of throwing wild turkeys from a plane be allowed? – [1911 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the Rare Spirit Bear Be Protected From Hunters? – [1650 Views]
  3. POLL: Should Arizona’s wild cats be protected from trophy hunters? – [1313 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the use of bears as living tourist attractions be banned? – [1195 Views]
  5. POLL: Should animal traps in our National Wildlife Refuges be banned? – [1061 Views]
  6. POLL: Should Dolphinariums As Tourist Attractions Be Closed Down? – [1029 Views]
  7. POLL: Should Orcas and Dolphins be freed from all Seaquariums? – [1023 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the Alaska Refuge be opened up for drilling? – [990 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the testing of cosmetics on animals be banned? – [893 Views]
  10. Penguin disaster as only two chicks survive from colony of 40,000 – [797 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7645 Views]
  2. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [6651 Views]
  3. POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3799 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3786 Views]
  5. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [3605 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3049 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
  8. POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
  10. POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]