(Nestor meridionalis)




Facts about this animal

The kaka is a large, stocky, short tailed parrot, about 45 cm long. Males weigh on average 525 g, females 475 g.

The bill is longer in males than in females. Its colour is grey. The feet are dark grey, and the iris is dark brown.

The kaka has a brush tongue with which it feeds on nectar, and was therefore previously thought to belong to the lorikeet family.

The plumage is olive brown, light grey on forehead and upper head, crimson under wings and rump.

Breeding occurs from March to September. Productivity of kaka is generally low and nesting is infrequent, only occurring in years when food supply is abundant. The female lays 4-5 eggs in a tree hole and incubates them for about three weeks. The chicks stay in the nesthole for about 9-10 weeks, and subsequently with their parents for another 3 weeks.

The kaka has a diverse diet, consisting of fruit, seeds (mainly Nothofagus), nectar, sap, invertebrates and also honeydew in some areas.

There are two recognised subspecies, the North Island (N. m. septentrionalis) and the South Island (N. m. meridionalis) kaka.

Did you know?
that the main reason for the kaka's decline is predation of eggs, chicks and breeding females by introduced mammalian predators, especially stoats?


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Nestor meridionalis
Name (English) Kaka
Name (French) Nestor superbe
Name (German) Kaka
Name (Spanish) Kaka
Local names New Zealand: Bush parrot, brown parrot, mountain parrot
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range New Zealand: Central North Island forest, Pureora, Whirinaki, Coromandel, offshore islands, Hen and Chickens, Great Barrier, Little Barrier, Mayor and Kapiti Islands. South Island forests and Stewart Island.
Habitat Low to mid altitude forest
Wild population Approx. < 10'000
Zoo population 36, of which 30 North Island kakas, reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 11D of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Some veterinary or customs authorities require that all psittacine birds are ringed upon importation.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Tony Wills

Why do zoos keep this animal

The wild population of the North Island kaka is vulnerable to extinction. ARAZPA has therefore established an ex situ conservation breeding programme coordinated by Auckland Zoo, from which birds have been released to the wild (until December 2004). This programme also helps raising awareness with regard to the plight of the North Island kaka.