The Kiwi Bird Wildlife Park welcomed two new resident Antipodes Island parakeets to their conservation program. The Antipodes parakeet (Cyanoramphus unicolor) is an endangered parakeet native to uninhabited and protected islands of the Antipode in New Zealand. BirdLife estimates the population of the parakeets to be around 1,300 to 2,000 mature individuals, with a total population of around 3,000 parakeets.
Despite being listed as “vulnerable?in the wild, the population is doing quite well. Conservationists and researchers, however, are concerned that introduced threats, such as mammalian predators (e.g., rats or cats) could hurt the population. They also worry a disaster, such as a wildfire, could negatively affect the wild population as well.
As the parakeets do well in aviaries and other captive settings, a captive management program was started to help create an “insurance?population, in case something effected the wild population.
As part of that program, Kiwi Bird Wildlife Park keeps and breeds Antiopdes parakeets. The two newest parakeets that came to Kiwi Bird Wildlife Park were brought in from a breeder in Auckland, New Zealand. They are to be matched up with mates.
In the wild, Antipodes parakeets are either found individual or in small groups. According to the World Parrot Trust, Antipodes parakeets eat leaves, seeds, berries, as well as dead penguins and petrels and the eggs of seabirds. They breed October through March, and have nests underground, where they lay 2 to 5 eggs. They are the only New Zealand parakeet with an all-green head. Though they are good fliers, they spend a lot on time on the ground in their tussock and scrubland habitat.
Check out a video of the Antipodes parakeet here: