Kākā are large native forest parrots and there is a good chance you may hear or see them near Wairima/Bark Bay or the upper reaches of the park.
The Abel Tasman has 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 park feasting on rata.
However kākā 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 kākā population in the Abel Tasman was effectively extinct.
Extensive predator control has enabled female kākā to be released from a purpose-built aviary at Wainui Hut since 2015 and on the coast at Bark Bay in 2019. In the summer of 2019, at least two of the captive raised females at the top of the park 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.
Please remember not to feed the kākā – they thrive on a wild diet and need to learn to fend for themselves.
Have you seen a kākā? Let us know via the Abel Tasman Phone App app.
Bird calls courtesy of NZ birds online