Yellow, orange and red-crowned käkäriki, our native parakeets, are three of the few New Zealand native bird species able to be held and bred in captivity.
Here at Koru Native Wildlife Centre sponsored by New Zealand King Salmon, we hold a special permit from the Department of Conservation to breed yellow-crowned käkäriki.
Our breeding programme has successfully bred a number of Käkäriki, both for release into controlled wilderness areas and for other programmes. We also exchange Käkäriki with other breeders that are part of the captive breeding for release programme to diversify the gene pool.
In the wild
Käkäriki are found in forests throughout New Zealand and even the sub-Antarctic Auckland islands.
Their name means “small green parrot” in Mäori, and there are five main species: yellow-crowned parakeet, orange-fronted parakeet, red-crowned parakeet, Forbe’s parakeet and Antipodes Island parakeet.
It may be hard to believe now, but during the 1800s käkäriki were considered pests by farmers and growers as they fed on grains and crops. Many were culled and their habitat destroyed as land was cleared.
Now, introduced pests like rats, mice, stoats and ferrets are the käkäriki’s main threat.
Käkäriki like to eat berries, seeds, fruit and insects and we are careful to provide them with a balanced diet, including their native shrubs. They also like to nest in holes and trees, so our custom-built aviaries allow for this. In the wild, this habit means these birds can be vulnerable to predators.
Käkäriki generally nest from October to December but depending on the food supply this can be extended. An egg takes around 20 days to hatch and during this time, the female Käkäriki receives regurgitated food from the male. Once the eggs have hatched, both parents contribute to feeding the chicks.
Source: Department of Conservation