Family New Zealand Parrots (Strigopidae)


New Zealand Kaka (Nestor meridionalis)


French: Nestor superbe German: Kaka Spanish: Kaka
Other common names: Kaka

Psittacus meridionalis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Dusky Sound, South Island, New Zealand


Probably closest to †N. productus, formerly of Norfolk I and nearby Phillip I (became extinct in mid-19th century). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. m. septentrionalis L. Lorenz von Liburnau, 1896 – North I and some offshore islands.
  • N. m. meridionalis (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – South I, Stewart I and larger offshore islands.
  • Descriptive notes

    45 cm; average 550 g. Forehead to nape whitish, lightly edged buff; face brown with broad pinkish flecks that become yellow on ear-coverts; colours of head shade to olive-... read more


    The commonest call, typically given in flight, is a very harsh grating “krraah” or “ka-rah”... read more


    Remaining areas of lowland and mid-altitude native forest.

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, including Podocarpus ferrugineus, Beilschmiedia tarairi, berries, seeds (notably of Agathis australis),... read more


    Sept–Mar. Nest in large hollow in limb or trunk, also in hollow base of cabbage tree; on Kapiti commonly below 3 m, and the preferred... read more


    Birds are partly nomadic, sometimes appearing in areas from which they have been absent for some... read more

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. CITES II. Previously listed as Vulnerable. The species has suffered chronic decline owing to habitat clearance, and mainland populations face further declines... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Boesman, P. (2019). New Zealand Kaka (Nestor meridionalis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 May 2019).