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Figure 12.9: Change in distribution of the kākā

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Note: Both subspecies of kākā are combined, to show their overall distribution.

Kākā (Nestor meridionalis)

Photo of a kākā.

The kākā is a large, endemic forest parrot whose diet includes berries, seeds, nectar, and invertebrates. The kākā plays an important role in native forests by pollinating flowers and breaking up rotten wood, speeding its decay.

There are two subspecies; the North Island kākā (N. meridionalis septentrionalis), and the South Island kākā (N.m. meridionalis). Both are classified as nationally endangered due to the loss of their habitat in the past, coupled with the current pressure from predators like possums and stoats.

In areas without predator control, most kākā nests do not produce young and many nesting females are killed. Predator control in protected forest blocks has resulted in a rapid increase in kākā numbers in those areas.

With effective predator control, about 80 per cent of the nests produce young, which is a marked increase in breeding success, and far more breeding females survive.


Data source and photo: Courtesy of the Department of Conservation.

Text description of figure

This figure shows the distribution of the kākā on a map of New Zealand: Its estimated pre-human distribution, during the 1970s and current distribution. It shows that its range has contracted and it now occupies less than 20 per cent of its original range.