The yellow-crowned parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) is a species of parakeet endemic to the islands of New Zealand. The species is found across the main three islands of New Zealand, North Island, South Island and Stewart Island/Rakiura, as well as on the subantarctic Auckland Islands. It has declined due to predation from introduced species such as stoats, although unlike the red-fronted parakeet it has not been extirpated from the mainland of New Zealand. Its Māori name is kakariki.
The yellow-crowned parakeet was once widely distributed across all of New Zealand, both the main islands and the outlying ones. However, due to both the aforementioned introduced mammals and human destruction of habitat, these parakeets have become much scarcer in the last handful of decades. While uncommon, they are still the most common parakeet in New Zealand.
Yellow-crowned parakeets are 23cm long and primarily bright green. They have a red band fronting their eponymous golden crown. Their wings, when spread in flight, are blueish purple. Their eyes are either orange or red and their bill is grey.
Range and Habitat
Yellow-crowned parakeets prefer the upper canopies of tall, unbroken stub and forest, though they have been observed at high altitude tussock meadows and on some of the subantarctic islands. A notably favored habitat is mixed podocarp/nothofagus forest.
These parakeets are endemic to New Zealand and range across the main islands as well as Ewing Island in the Auckland Islands. This is the world's most southern observed location of Cyanoramphus, and the second southernmost location of living parrots.
Yellow-crowned parakeets subsist on the seeds of beech, flax, and tussock but also eat fruits, flowers, leaves, shoots, and invertebrates.
Yellow-crowned parakeets build nests in crevices, burrows, and trunks of trees depending on the habitat. Their eggs are white.
- Elliott G, Dilk P & O'Donnel C (1996) "The ecology of yellow-crowned parakeets (Cyanoramphus auriceps) in Nothofagus forest in Fiordland, New Zealand" New Zealand Journal of Zoology 23: 249-265 
- TerraNature (2011) "Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Cyanoramphus auriceps" at http://terranature.org/parakeetYellow-crowned.htm
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