Kakariki: Our Forest Gem
Our native parakeet karariki won the Bird of the Year in 2010, and we think this little beauty has the charisma and style to take the crown again this year.
This wee gem packs a lot of punch with their bright green plumage and upbeat attitude, just like their political namesake, the party Green. Kakariki like to stand out, not only from the foliage but also from one another. Two varieties rock both red and yellow crowns and sometimes blue streaks on their wings, while another has an orange bib.
These avian rebels don’t like to follow the pack. They are often found doing their own thing, only occasionally hanging out in flocks. But don’t mistake this for a lack of social skills, as they are friendly, curious and smart birds who also take pride in looking after the family, with the male often feeding both his partner and their chicks, what a thoroughly modern guy!
Finding the kakariki today, though, has become a treasure hunt. Once abundant up until the 1970s, they were, like the gold of El Dorado, plundered from their natural habitat, shot in the thousands for their foraging on farmers’ fruit and grain.
Today kakariki remain low in number. If you are lucky you can spot the yellow-crowned in forested areas throughout Aotearoa and on Hauturu or Little Barrier Island. Its red-crowned cousin is more commonly found in island valleys free of mammalian predators; while the orange fronted hangs out in Canterbury. Seeing them on the mainland is increasingly elusive.
Kakariki had further setbacks in last summer’s drought. They found it difficult to find water during their nesting season, leading to a poor year for breeding.
We need to make sure these divas get the chance to take centre stage once again. Help these little kings and queens take back the throne and reign supreme as Bird of the Year 2013.
Watch this video then vote Kakarirki for Bird of the Year 2013.