The New Zealand Kaka is considered vulnerable. It has greatly declined, in part from habitat loss and in part because of introduced wasps, possums and bees, which compete with the Kaka for the honeydew excreted by scale insects. Research has shown that this honeydew is very important for breeding birds, especially those breeding in southern beech forests. The difficult nature of controlling the wasps makes the New Zealand Kaka's future very uncertain. A closely related species, Nestor Productus, the Norfolk Island Kaka, became extinct in 1851.
VOICE: The calls include a harsh ka-aa and a whistling u-wiia.
HABITAT: The New Zealand Kaka lives in lowland and mid-altitude native forest. Its strongholds are currently the offshore reserves of Kapiti Island, Codfish Island and Little Barrier Island. It is breeding rapidly in the Mainland Island Sanctuary and Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, with over 100 chicks hatched since their reintroduction in 2002.
FOOD: The New Zealand Kaka feeds on fruits, berries, seeds, flowers, buds, nectar and invertebrates. It uses its strong beak to shred the cones of the kauri tree to obtain the seeds. It has a brush tongue with which it feeds on nectar, and it uses its strong beak to dig out the grubs of the longhorn beetle.
BREEDING: Nesting Kaka make their nests in hollow trees, laying clutches of 2-4 eggs in late winter. Both parents assist in feeding the chicks.
GENERAL: The New Zealand Kaka is a medium-sized parrot, around 45 cm (18 in) in length and weighing about 550g, is closely related to the Kea, but has darker plumage and is more arboreal. The forehead and crown are greyish-white and the nape is greyish-brown. The neck and abdomen are more reddish, while the wings are more brownish. Both sub-species have a strongly patterned brown/green/grey plumage with orange and scarlet flashes under the wings. Colour variants which show red to yellow colouration especially on the breast are sometimes found.