Kākā are large native forest parrots that can be found in the upper reaches of the Park.
They are vulnerable to stoats and possums as they nest in holes high in the forest canopy. Not only are eggs and chicks eaten but the adult bird, usually the female, is often cornered in the cavity and also killed. This means the survivors are mostly male meaning, until recently, the kaka population in the Abel Tasman was effectively extinct.
However extensive predator control has enabled female kākā to be released from a purpose-built aviary at Wainui Hut since 2015 and at Bark Bay/Wairima in 2019. In the summer of 2019, at least two of the captive raised females mated with wild males and six kākā chicks were successfully fledged. This is the first time kākā have been hatched in the Abel Tasman National Park in living memory.
The Park is a good environment as there is plenty of food in the form of seeds, fruit, nectar, sap, honeydew and tree-dwelling, especially wood-boring, invertebrates. There are historic reports from the late 1800’s of large flocks of kākā seen weaving through the trees of the Abel Tasman feasting on rata.
Have you seen a kākā? Let us know via the Abel Tasman Phone App app.
Bird calls courtesy of NZ birds online