In our #nestcam below you can see that this female is scratching in the wood shavings in her nest box, making a nice bed for her eggs. Our bird team have installed nest cameras this year so they can monitor when eggs have been laid and then calculate when they’re due to hatch, this means much less disturbance for the birds as our team can see exactly what’s happening without having to physically look inside the nest box.
Kākāriki karaka (orange-fronted parakeet) are small forest-dwelling birds and would have originally been found throughout mainland New Zealand, but due to predation from introduced species like rats and stoats they’re now Aotearoa’s rarest parakeet.
The great news is we’ve had success with our breeding programme for these nationally endangered birds in the past. Last summer Auckland Zoo bred 15 juvenile birds that were then released by our partners the Department of Conservation and Isaacs Conservation Trust in Christchurch. The majority of these birds then went on to find a mate and have their own chicks - creating an amazing population boost for the species. DOC rangers found 29 kākāriki nests in the South-Hurunui release site earlier this year - the most orange-fronted kākāriki nests ever found there since 2001!
Prior to this, there were estimated to be just 200 of these birds in the wild – so being able to breed 15 healthy, young birds that are then able to have chicks of their own is something we’re proud to be a part of. This year, with the addition of 3 birds from our partners at Isaacs, our bird keeping team will have 5 breeding pairs which will increase our ability to breed more birds for the wild.
Did you know that just by visiting our orange-fronted kakariki at the zoo, you’re helping to conserve their wild cousins? Do your bit for nature this Conservation Week with a visit to our New Zealand sanctuary Te Wao Nui.