Red crowned Parakeet - Red-fronted Parakeet Distribution Diet Habitat

Red crowned Parakeet

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Red crowned Parakeet

Red crowned Parakeet or Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae) 27 cm; 50–113 g. Green, more yellowish below; a frontal band through and behind the eye, and forehead to mid-crown, red 

Red crowned Parakeet


Red crowned Parakeet

; patch each side of rump red; outer webs of primaries dark blue  Immature has less red on the head, shorter tail. Race cyanurus bluer on flight-feathers with greenish-blue tail; chat­hamensis  like nominate but face bright emerald; Hochstetter  larger and more yellowish, red markings more orange; cookie 

like nominate but larger; saisseti like nominate but more yellowish, and red lighter and brighter.

Systematics History

Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.

Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

Races cookie and saisseti have been considered separate species based on genetic differences in accordance with the phylogenetic species concept , but their differences are not striking: saisseti is distinct from nominating and other taxa in novaezelandiae on account of its yellower face and underparts (yellow making red of crown slightly fierier) (1), longer tail (obvious distinction from cyanurushochstetteri and nominate, but less so from cookii and †erythrotis) (probably only 1); cookii is same colour as nominate and taxa to the S of it, but has almost as long a tail as saisseti and much the largest bill, with the exception perhaps of †subflavescens, which was yellowish below (like saisseti). Further research and evidence are needed on these taxa. In recent times, race hochstetteri commonly treated as a distinct species on basis of molecular data; it was also suggested that †erythrotis be regarded as full species with Hochstetter as a race but this was later withdrawn, following evidence that the †erythrotis specimen used in that study had been mislabelled; hochstetteri has been listed as a race of C. Malherbe, apparently in error. Six extant subspecies were recognized.


Red crowned Parakeet


Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae cyanurus Scientific name definitions

Kermadec Is (Raoul I, Herald Group, Macauley I  ).


Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae novaezelandiae Scientific name definitions

Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae novaezelandiae
C. n. novaezelandiae
New Zealand (formerly abundant on North I and South I), Stewart I, Auckland Is, and many offshore islands. Probably extinct on the mainland, but some recent records may involve escaped cagebirds and dispersers from wild or translocated populations.


Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae chathamensis Scientific name definitions

Chatham Is (S Chatham I, Pitt I, Mangere I, and South East I ).


Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae erythrotis Scientific name definitions

Macquarie I.


Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future, we will develop a range-wide distribution article.


Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

Originally throughout native forests at all altitudes, now chiefly in remaining forest patches on main islands, usually at lower altitudes than C. auriceps, but in the forest, scrubland, and open areas on smaller islands. On the treeless Antipodes, birds are terrestrial, occupying more open areas and low coastal vegetation than sympatric C. unicolor.

Migration Overview

Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

In the early days of human settlement, irruptive behavior was noted at certain localities, and they’re still maybe some seasonal wandering. Birds regularly commute between islands, whether mainland to offshore or offshore to offshore; dispersers from Macaulay in the Kermadecs occasionally cover the 40 km to Curtis I.

Diet and Foraging

Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

Much seasonal variation in diet, with buds and blossoms being consumed in spring, fruit in summer, and seeds in autumn, with seeds and fruit together in winter. On Poor Knights Is birds took flowers of Metrosideros excelsa in Oct–Nov, seeds of LeptocarpusCortaderia richardiiCoprosma macrocarpa, and Macropiper exulans in Jan, seeds of Pittosporum crassifolium in Feb–May and Aug. On Antipodes Is the main food was seeds of Poa litorosa grass and Carex appressa sedge (55% of records), with flowers (20%), berries (9%), leaves and buds (8%), and invertebrates (5%). On Norfolk I seeds and blossoms of Baloghia Lucida and blossoms of Lagunaria persona preferred, supplemented by fruits of various exotic shrubs and trees, and leaf shoots and seeds of Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla). In autumn on Rangatira (South-east) I, Chathams, seeds of Plagianthus regius and Hebe dieffenbachia, and fruits of Myoporum laetum were most important (60% records). Seeds of casuarinas are important in New Caledonia.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

Commonest call a nasal rattling chatter “kehkehkehkehkeh…”, often in well-separated bursts of c. 1 second, but also prolonged for c. 10 seconds or more. Also quieter, more musical, nasal squabbling with rhythmic delivery, a soft musical “tu-tu-tu-tu” and single nasal or raspy notes.


Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

Nov–Jan in New Caledonia, but any time of year elsewhere in N; Oct-Dec in S. Nest in a hole in tree or cliff bank, in a natural fissure in the rock, in a burrow in the ground or matted vegetation; in Antipodes, birds make tunnels in the crowns of tall tussocks or clumps of ferns. Eggs  5–9; incubation lasts c. 20 days; nestling period  5–6 weeks. In a study in New Caledonia (saisseti), in 11 breeding attempts in two nests, over 5 years, clutch size was 3·6 eggs on average, 2·5 chicks hatched and 2·1 chick fledged; there was cooperative breeding: two males of different size fed the female and the chicks in each nest, and genetic analyses showed that males shared paternity ). Males may have a higher survival rate than females.

Conservation Status

Red-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Lord Howe I endemic race subflavescens extinct since 1869; Macquarie I endemic race erythrotis extinct since 1890. Race cookii has been treated as a full species and accorded Critically Endangered status. CITES I. Greatly reduced from historical levels on two main islands, but still common on Stewart and many offshore islands, Antipodes  (an estimated 4000–5000 individuals in 1978) and Auckland Is. On Chatham’s numbers were greatly reduced by habitat loss and predation on two main islands, but abundant on the small Rangatira, and numbers controlled on Mangere and Little Mangere as part of conservation efforts for C. Forbes. On Kermadec Is introduced predators wiped out Raoul I population 150 years ago, but over 10,000 birds survived in 1980 on Macaulay following goat eradication in the 1960s, with small numbers on other islands. The species is uncommon in New Caledonia. Norfolk I population (race cookii) numbered 40 birds (with 13 in captivity) in 1991, having suffered from hunting, habitat destruction, predation by rats, and nest-site competition from introduced Platycercus elegant, European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), and honeybees, but active management allowed the population to grow, numbers being estimated at 200–300 birds in 2004 and 150–200 birds in 2008. Later on, lack of maintenance of nest-boxes apparently lead to a population crash, with only 45–96 birds estimated in 2013; however an emergency nest restoration program, coupled with far more intense rat and cat control in and around the Norfolk Island National Park, quickly reverted the situation and 200–400 birds were present two years later. Translocation of birds from Norfolk to Lord Howe I have been urged, given that fewer threats exist there and extinction was reputedly caused by human persecution; translocation at least to Philip I likely. Extinction on Macquarie attributed to predation by feral cats following the reduction of habitat by rabbits.

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