Reischek’s Parakeet
Cyanoramphus hochstetteri

Psittaciformes Order – Psittacidae Family

INTRODUCTION:
The Reischek’s Parakeet is still considered a subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet by some authors. Both species are very similar with only little difference in plumage. However, they are living in separate ranges.
This species is endemic to the subantarctic New Zealand Antipodes Islands, along with the Antipodes Green Parakeet.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD:
Biometrics:
Length: 28 cm
Weight: 140 g

The adult is a long-tailed parakeet with rounded wings. It has emerald green plumage overall, but more yellowish green. The markings on the forecrown, the eye line and the sides of the rump are rather orange-red than red. On the wings, the outer webs of the flight feathers are paler blue.
The bill is silvery grey with blackish tip. The eyes are red. Legs and feet are grey-brown.

Both sexes are similar, with male slightly larger than female.
The juvenile is duller overall, with shorter tail and pale brown eyes.
The Reischek’s Parakeet is larger than the Red-crowned Parakeet.  

RANGE:
The Reischek’s Parakeet occurs on the Antipodes Islands and the smaller adjacent islands.

HABITAT:
The Reischek’s Parakeet frequents mainly areas with low vegetation. It can be seen in more open areas around the North Plains, and may occur on the coastal fringes.
This species is common throughout these islands.

CALLS AND SONGS:
The Reischek’s Parakeet produces the typical chatter of the Psittacidae, including several softer sounds such as “tur-tur-tur” calls.

BEHAVIOUR IN THE WILD:
The Reischek’s Parakeet feeds on plant matter such as leaves, flowers, berries and seeds from several plant species. It occasionally feeds on invertebrates and may scavenge on carcasses of dead seabirds.
It forages mainly on the ground, usually in the early morning and the late afternoon.

They are often seen in pairs or in small groups while foraging on or near the ground. They may gather in larger flocks at isolated water holes. The Reischek’s Parakeet often shares the feeding areas with the Antipodes Green Parakeet.  

It spends much time taking sun and preening in sheltered sites.
It is very territorial and defends strongly the nest-site by loud calls. Intruders are chased away from this area.

The Reischek’s Parakeet is sedentary but it may fly between the islands for foraging within the Antipodes Islands group.
The flight is strong, with rapid, shallow wingbeats interspersed with glides.

REPRODUCTION OF THIS SPECIES:  
The breeding season occurs between October and March.
The Reischek’s Parakeet nests in tunnels which can be modified or built at base of clumps of tussock grass or fern, or under large rocks. The nest is lined with soft materials such as feathers, moss, grass or small pieces of wood.
The breeding behaviour in unknown, but it is probably similar to that of other Cyanoramphus parakeets.

The female lays 4-5 white eggs and incubates alone during 3 weeks. The chicks fledge at 5-6 weeks old, and they are still fed for one week more after fledging.

PROTECTION / THREATS / STATUS:
The Reischek’s Parakeet has stable populations. They are common throughout the Antipodes Islands and Bollons Islands. The numbers are smaller on Archway, Windward and Leeward Islands. The species has adapted to the subantarctic habitats and climate.  
The global population is estimated at about 4,000/5,000 individuals. The species is protected within its 2,000 ha range which is a Nature Reserve with controlled and limited access.
Mice have been eradicated, but the major threat for the parakeet is the accidental arrival of other mammalian predators.

The Reischek’s Parakeet has restricted range and is classified as Vulnerable, and “at risk and Naturally Uncommon” on the 2008 New Zealand Threat Classification System.

Fr: Perruche de Reischek
Ang: Reischek’s Parakeet
Ita: Parrocchetto di Reischek
Nd: Reischeks Karakiri

Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Sources :

PARROTS OF THE WORLD – An Identification Guide – by Joseph M. Forshaw – Princeton University Press – ISBN 0691092516

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

Wikipedia (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)

New Zealand Birds Online

Department of Conservation

Terra nature

THE AVIANWEB (Sibylle Faye)

Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

PLANETOFBIRDS.COM

 

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