Breeding

Kakariki, Yellow-fronted (Cyanoramphus auriceps)

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Yellow fronted Kakarikiby Jim Hayward

ORIGINAL HOMELAND:
New Zealand.

NATURAL HABITAT:
To be found in forested areas on both North and South Islands, as well as the offshore islands - including Auckland and Stewart.

STATUS IN THE WILD:
Said to be in decline on New Zealand itself due to destruction of the native forest and predation by introduced rats and cats since the early days of European settlement, but thriving on some of the offshore islands.

STATUS IN AVICULTURE:
Established, but nothing like as common as the Red-fronted Kakariki.

LEVEL OF KEEPER'S EXPERIENCE:
Previous experience in breeding any of the smaller Australian parrakeets is sufficient.

HARDINESS:
Reasonably hardy, it has a thick underdown which gives good insulation against our winters; these birds are used to a cooler, damper climate than most Australian species.

TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION:
A flight measuring 3ft wide, 6ft high and from 6ft to 12ft in length is ideal. The aviary should be sheltered from strong winds and driving rain or snow. An open fronted shelter is sufficient protection, but an enclosed shelter is a benefit for all parrakeets.

TYPE OF DIET:
As well as a good parrakeet seed mix(sunflower, safflower, canary mix, various millets), greenfood, fruit and berries, should be included in their diet, as well as some soft food (canary egg food, bread and milk) and a few mealworms.

SEXING:
The cocks have noticeably larger heads and bills in comparison with hens.

SEXUAL MATURITY:
Though they will breed as early as four to six months old, it is best to dissuade them from nesting until the year following that in which they were hatched.

NESTING SEASON IN BRITAIN:
Kakarikis are likely to go to nest at any time of year, but the box should be removed during the winter and nesting held back until the longer and warmer days of spring and summer when their efforts will be more rewarding.

TYPE OF NEST:
A suitable nestbox would measure around 7" square by 15" high.

USUAL NUMBER OF EGGS:
Whereas the clutch of eggs of the Red-fronted is usually large and seven or more can be expected, Yellow-fronteds usually average smaller clutches of five or six.

INCUBATION PERIOD:
18/19 days.

USUAL NUMBER OF YOUNG:
Three to five.

FLEDGING AGE:
Just over five weeks.

USUAL NUMBER OF CLUTCHES:
Two clutches per season can be expected, a third is a bonus but further nests debilitate the breeding birds.

NESTING HABITS:
As soon as a nest is hung up, the hen takes to roosting in it every night. Fledged birds should be removed from the aviary as soon as they can feed - bullying by the parents can lead to deaths.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS:
Hybridization with the commoner Red-fronted Kakariki has been frequent, and specimens should not be purchased for use as breeding stock.

NOISE FACTOR:
The sound of their voices is not loud or offensive and consists of pleasant chatterings and the characteristic 'bleating' calls.

AVAILABILITY:
Though obtainable, pure bred birds are not offered for sale as often as they were a few years ago.

COLOUR VARIETIES:
There is a Yellow variety which is still rare at present.

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