In recent weeks our keepers have been maintaining a very close eye on our female Kakariki and we are pleased to announce that a very healthy chick has now fledged the nest; a great success for this threatened species! Once widespread across New Zealand, the Yellow-crowned Parakeet is now facing a rapid decline in their numbers due to logging, agricultural pressures and predation by invasive species such as Stoats.
This fascinating species is rather uncommon within zoological facilities, adding to the importance of this chick to their conservation. And the excitement only continues as the females of this species quickly leave the father to tend to their chick once it is almost independent, to begin laying eggs within another nest close by!
Watching the development of our newest arrival to the zoo has been very interesting. Our keepers were able to safely capture photographs of the developing chick: take a look below at how quickly these little parakeets grow!
The handsome little chick is looking very proud to be out of the nest and exploring independently!
After hatching, it took the little Kakariki just 5 weeks to fledge the nest, making the hard work of the parent birds a great success! Kakariki chicks are called 'altricial' because they hatch with their eyes closed, lack feathers and are completely dependent on their parents to feed, clean and protect them. In just 5 weeks the chick quickly grew and produced its special flight feathers before leaving the nest in search of its own food!
Here at the zoo, our keepers spend a great deal of time researching and creating specialists diets for all of the animals, to provide them with all of the essential nutrients they need to thrive. Many of our visitors are always fascinated by our parakeets favorite food; forget the seeds, fruits and vegetables, our Kakariki happily spend much of their day munching on everything leafy from lettuce to herbs!
If you're planning a visit to the zoo soon, be sure to come and see our inquisitive Kakariki and if you're lucky you may see them creating havoc for our keepers during their daily cleaning and feeding duties. This is because our Kakariki are quite mischievous characters and often stand on their fresh food and kick it straight onto the floor! This messy dancing is actually a rather fascinating natural behavior of this species, mimicking the ways in which they would forage in the wild. By kicking around on the ground in leaf litter and sand, Kakariki search for seeds and food morsels that have fallen to the ground!
We look forward to welcoming you on your next visit to the zoo! And who knows, you may be lucky enough to hear the cheeky chatter of more Kakariki chicks on your visit!