The wild type

Update maandag 17 augustus 2009

The wild type
The 3 elements of colour


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 museum specimen.

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 North Island.

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 size.

Besides the 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 somekind of 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 them.

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 captivity.

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 this website.

   Neckspot of young normals

   Source: John Stumbler


    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.


Zuivere wildkleur Roodvoorhoofd Kakariki Zuivere wildkleur Geelvoorhoofd Kakariki
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:



Hybride wildkleur Kakariki
Hybride wildkleur Kakariki Hybride wildkleur Kakariki
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


Roodvoorhoofd Kakariki met hybride kenmerken Geelvoorhoofd Kakariki met hybride kenmerken
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.




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