Cyanoramphus Novaezelandiae is named by Charles Lucien
Bonaparte in his book Conspectus Generum Avium
which was brought out in 2 volumes between 1850 and 1857. This name is
still in use. Remarkably, Bonaparte made his classification on the basis of
Interestingly were the notes made by Walter L. Buller, a New
Zealand Ornithologist. He described the different Kakariki species in his
book A History Of The Birds Of New Zealand (1872-1873 en 1887-1888)
and classified them as members of the Platycercidae. This arose for the sake
of the vicinity of the Australian Rosellas. Platycercus Novaezelandiae,
like he named the Red-fronted Kakariki appeared to have some variation in
length and color depth. This expressed itself in a variable shade of green,
the red of the crown, the size of the ear spots an the intensity of the blue
on the outer wings. There were notes of 12"/30,5cm tall males and
10,25"/26cm females. Generally, their color was dark green compared to the
Yellow crowned or Platycercus Auriceps which showed a yellowish green. The
forehead, crown and streak across the eye were described as deep Crimson
red. The largest group of this specie was found in the southern part of the
Platycercus Aucklandicus, named to his habitat, the Auckland Islands,
was a smaller type of the Red-fronted Kakariki. Whether it is a
different kind of specie is still not known but today it is classified
as C. Novaezelandiae. In the meanwhile it is known that this type
interbreed with the Yellow crown. Maybe that is the reason of it's small
Platycercus Alpinus (Orange fronted Kakariki) there was a mention of a 4th
type, the Platycercus Rowleyi. This bird appeared the same like P. Novaezelandiae,
but rather slighter. Being 10"/25,4cm, this one held the middle between
the Orange fronted(9"/22,9cm) and the Yellow crown(10.5"/26,7cm). This
specie was only common on the southern Island and strikingly it was also
the common habitat of the Orangefronted Kakariki. .Was the Platycercus Rowleyi
hybrid or a variation of P. Novaezelandiae? Remarkebly there was no
mention of a stained red-orange crown like we used to see with hybrids.
Moreover the Orangefronted Kakariki lived on higher areas than those of
the Redfronted whichthrough there was an ecological barriere between
We don't know which types of Red-fronted Kakariki have been exported to the world but
it is possible that P. Rowleyi's
size has been of influence on the present C. Novaezelandiae in
|It is clear that the original
C. Novaezelandiae must have been a much taller bird than the one we know
today. Only a few bloodlines of this specimen are still in possession of
New Zealand enthusiasts. Therefore their future is highly endangered.
The clock is ticking. For a detailed description I refer to
|| Males are bigger and have a larger
and wider beak.
|| Females are smaller and have a
short thin beak.
|| The underwing stripe of a female
|| The underwing stripe of an adult male
The wildtype today
|The wildtype, how does it look like? In
the'Lexicon of parrots' it is described as: generally green with a
yellowish green on the breast, abdomen and under tail-coverts. The
forehead, crown and stripe extending to behind the eye are red. A red
patch to both sides of the lower back.
Outer webs of flight-feathers violet-blue.
The iris is red. Feet grey. Bill pale
bluish-grey with blackish tip.
||A well defined
red crown. Red iris.
Photo: Peter Wauben
Young birds have less red on the head and a
red-brown iris. Their tail is shorter.
The size of an adult male is 10.6"/27cm, a
female measures 9.8"/ 25cm. The wing-lenght varies from 125mm to 139mm.
|In the past it appeared that breeders
have crossbred both Redfronted and Yellow crowns. Therefore it is
important to put both species side by side along with hybrids. In that
way we can make a distinction between the visible features of them.
|On the left a Redfronted Kakariki, on the
right a Yellow crown. The Yellow crown has no spot beyond the eye. The
iris of the latter is Orange. Red-fronteds have a red iris. The crown of
both is homogeneous. Photos:
|These pictures are of a 1th generation
Red-Fronted x Yellow Crown. The crown displays a mixture of red and
yellow feathers and therefore it appears Orange. It also displays a
faint ear spot. The iris is Orange. Photos: John Stumbler
|On the left a next generation Red-fronted x
hybrid. There is still a yellow edge on the crown. The iris has still an
Orange tinge as well. On the right a next generation Yellow crown x
hybrid. There is still a yellowish ear spot. Yellow crowns do not have
an ear spot.