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The New Zealand Karariki Parrot

The only wild parrot I saw on a frequent basis was the New Zealand Rosealla. It’s a very beautiful but a bully in the bird world.

My first sighting of a NZ Karariki Parrot was on Tiritiri Matangi Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. One day I went there there was a bird count for the NZ Karariki Parrot, so I managed to take some photos of them.

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a bird sanctuary and you can visit there by catching the ferry in the morning from central Auckland or from Golf Harbour in the morning. You can find out on the internet the exact departure times. Though, be prepared. You need to have clean shoes on your feet and you need to take your own lunch as it is an all day affair. You pay for a guide to take you on a trial to show off the unique bird life and that takes you a couple of hours. It’s a wonderful walk and you hardly notice the walk with all the wonderful scenery and bird life around you- 2 hours takes no time at all. You are taken up to tea rooms where you can get free tea or coffee and there are souvenirs to browse through.

So this is the Karariki NZ Parrot which is a very special bird. It is an endangered Species and needs protection, so Tiritiri Matangi Island is a good place for it to live in, as the people who look after it frequently check out the landscape to see if there is any evidence of predators or disease.

“Karariki” means, small green parrot, in Maori. It’s beautiful and feeds on fruit and insects and seeds. It nests in holes in trees. There are 5 species of Karariki in New Zealand:

  • Yellow-crowned parakeet
  • Orange-fronted parakeet
  • Red-crowned parakeet, (such as in my photo)
  • Forbes parakeet
  • Antipodes Island parakeet

I’ve yet to go and visit the other places where the other types of Karariki parrots are,  to find this beautiful bird and I can only show you my own photos of the ones I took.

This bird is eyeing me up as I am taking it’s photograph. It’s probably just curious like me.

To catch these birds nets were set up and the birds flew into the nets where they were caught.

These Karariki are being inspected by these experts, their tails measured and their feet banded for identification.

I’m not sure if this bird is impressed but this operation is over quickly, the bird experts are aware of what they do.

It’s not unusual to see these birds foraging for food on the ground.

If only birds could talk? He probably thinks that this inspection is completely mad and nobody asked him.

The Red and Yellow Crowned parakeet are the only NZ native birds to be held and bred in captivity. Breeders of Karariki need a permit from the department of conservation to do that. The breeding has contributed to the preservation of Karariki and captive birds have been successfully liberated on Tiritiri Matangi Island, Curvier and the Whale Islands.

Today the threats to the existence of this bird is rats, mice and some stoats, ferrets and weasels. The NZ Opposum will eat the birds eggs.

You can help any bird. Check your gear for rats and mice, don’t take the dog with you. Clean your gear especially your shoes. Leave nesting birds alone. Support DOC. Donate to native bird sanctuaries like Tiritiri Mating Island.

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Written by Pamela Moresby

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