A member of the parrot family, the yellow-crowned parakeet was once common on mainland New Zealand, but it is now mainly confined to predator-free islands and large tracts of forest on the mainland. Notable for its colourful bright green, red and yellow plumage, it loves to nest in holes in branches and trunks of trees, crevices in cliffs, and in burrows in the ground. Kakariki are usually solitary or found in pairs, although in autumn and winter the birds may form small flocks. In flight they make a loud rapid chatter and may also chatter and babble when feeding.
The yellow-crown parakeet or kakariki was once part of Mana Island’s ecosystem. Its bones were found in midden (rubbish heap) material on Mana. It is one of the bird species recommended by the Department for reintroduction to the island. We have already seen the introduction of fairy prion, diving petrel, speckled skink and flax weevil to the island. Their return has been made possible by the removal of mice, and a native forest replanting project that is being undertaken by Friends of Mana Island. There is now abundant food for kakariki, including kanuka nuts, coprosma berries, and the extensive grass seed.
Twenty six birds, eleven female and fifteen male birds, have been relocated from Te Kakaho Island in the Chetwood group, Marlborough Sounds which hosts the closest genetically-suitable population to Mana Island. The Chetwood Islands population is thriving and will easily replenish itself.