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Above top: Red-crowned parakeet, J.L. Kendrick, Crown Copyright © Department of Conservation, Waikanae 1980

Above middle: Orange-fronted parakeet, Dave Crouchley, Crown Copyright © Department of Conservation, 1983

Above bottom: North Island kaka, Ross Henderson, Crown Copyright © Department of Conservation, Kapiti Island 2004

See more on parrots and parakeets
See New Zealand native birds list

Threatened status of nine NZ native birds worsens in global listing

3 June 2005

The red-crowned parakeet (left) and the rock wren have become New Zealand's latest additions to the international list of threatened birds, following an annual reassessment.  They will be included in the 2005 IUCN Red List to be released later this year.

The threatened status of red-crowned parakeet and rock wren went up to 'vulnerable', from the 'least concern' and 'near threatened' categories.

Nine native birds have just taken a step closer to joining the many extinctions in New Zealand.

The position of the Chatham Island shag and the orange-fronted parakeet (middle left) was raised from 'endangered' to 'critically endangered', joining the elite ranks of kakapo, black stilt and Campbell Island teal.

Five other native birds listed in 2004 as 'vulnerable' are raised to 'endangered'. They include the New Zealand dotterel (top right), black-billed gull, Pitt Island shag, yellowhead, and kaka (bottom left).

Yellowhead were uplisted after the complete loss of two populations.

The principal cause of decline of seven of the birds is predation of chicks and eggs in nests by stoats and rats.

Predation has been most pronounced with critically endangered orange-fronted parakeet.  The last two natural populations totalling less than 100 in two North Canterbury valleys, have dropped dramatically in recent breeding seasons when the masting of rata tree fruit has produced a plague of stoats and rats.

The cause the Chatham Island shag's decline is not known. They only breed in a total area of one hectare on three islands.

The annual assessment of the world's bird species by Birdlife International shows 1,212 threatened with extinction, which together with 788 near threatened species, make a total of 2,000 in trouble. This is more than 20 percent of the global count of 9,775 species.

Eighty (37 percent) of New Zealand's 215 living native birds are on the IUCN list, with 8 critically endangered, 20 endangered, 44 vulnerable and 9 near threatened.

The total number of New Zealand birds including subspecies was 273, but with 58 extinctions since human settlement there are 215 living today.

New Zealand dotterel

The status of New Zealand dotterel Charadrius obscurus (above) is now Endangered.  It is particularly vulnerable to coastal development, with nests on beach sand just above high tide raided by cats and stoats, and disturbed by pedestrians, vehicles and dogs.  Photo: Geoff Moon

2005 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Malberbe's parakeet
(Orange-fronted parakeet)
Cyanoramphus malherbi
Critically endangered
Red-crowned parakeet
Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae
Chatham Island shag
Phalacrocorax onslowi
Critically endangered
Pitt Island shag
Phalacrocorax featherstoni
Nestor meridionalis
New Zealand dotterel
Charadrius obscurus
Black-billed gull
Larus bulleri
Mohoua ochrocephala
South Island wren
(Rock wren)
Xenicus gilviventris

Copyright © 2005 TerraNature Trust. All rights reserved.

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