Red-crowned Kakariki Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae

Description and sexing: The Red-Crowned Kakriki can be found in the southern and northern islands of New Zealand; some small peninsulas as well as the Auckland islands. These are the most widely kept of the Kakariki species and are breed in large numbers not surprisingly, several mutations have become established. The Red-crowned Kakariki’s are perfect for inexperienced breeders as they are hardy, easy to manage birds.

 

Length of male 27 cm average, female is usually slightly smaller, with a smaller beak. Average weight 60 g, female usually slightly lighter. The overall overall feather colour is green. The green has a yellow-green shine on the chest, abdomen and under tail feathers. The forehead and crown are red and there is a red eye line behind the eye. They have a red patch on both sides of the rump. Outer flight feathers are blue-purple. The iris is red, feet grey and the beak is light grey with a black tip.

Behavior and keeping:

The Red-crowned Kakariki is reported to have a pleasant disposition. The are slightly more cheeky as the Yellow-crowned Kakariki. They tend to be more tolerant of other birds - provided plenty of space is available for all. In cramped spaces, they can get aggressive and possibly cause injury. These very active birds enjoy being on the ground and scratching the soil, which makes them susceptible to parasites; therefore, regular worming is recommended. Free flying is a must for these activy birds therfore a minimun size of 3 x 1 x 2 m is recomended . They need some protection from winter frost and be aware of cold draft! A heated shelter may in some cases be necessary.

The diet of these birds is not difficult; a standard mixture will do well. Seeds (millet, canary, sunflower. buckwheat, niger, hemp, safflower, peanuts, sweetcorn, linseed, corn, pinenuts, barley), fruits and vegetables (apples, oranges, kiwi fruits, fresh figs, berries, juniper berries, spinach, carrots), green food (dandelion leaves, cabbage leaves, etc.),

Try soaking dry figs and juniper berries over night before feeding to soften them.

Sprouted seeds, softened rusk and egg food should also be offered, particularly during the breeding season (rationed when not breeding).

Breeding:

Colony and flock breeding is possible even when breeding. Most of these parakeets are extremely willing to breed and may be sexually mature when they are only five months old. However, it's best to prevent breeding in their first year and also avoid breeding during the winter period.

Several breedings per year may be possible, but overbreeding may result in poor health. No more than 2 breedings a year should be permitted. The female often starts another clutch before her previous young are independent. The male usually tends to the previous young. The band size is 4,5 mm.

Mutations:

Sex-linked mutations:

Cinnamon, this mutation alters the color of the eumelanin into brown instead of black. The result is a brownish green bird with brown flights and pink colored legs and toes. The mask stays unaltered. Typical for this mutation is that all youngsters have red eyes at hatching. The eyes darken to dark brown after about 8 days.

Recessive mutations:

Pied, the recessive pied mutation shows an almost completely yellow bird. We might say that this type of pied causes a 95% absence of eumelanin. The color of the flight feathers, legs, toes and nails can vary from grey till completely dilute. Split birds can be recognized in most cases by a pied spot at the inner side of the thighbone. The picture is showing a Female bird, nice pied all over.

Bronze fallow, in common it is of a somewhat lighter shade than cinnamon caused by smaller eumelanin granules produced by this mutation. These birds have pink legs and red eyes. The psittacine stays unaffected leaving the mask unaltered. At first sight this bird can be mistaken for a cinnamon, however, the clear red eyes and the paler back of the head indicate the typical fallow mutation. One more tip, because the Fallow has no pupil, the eye appears “more red” and these birds aren’t good in flying because they cannot open or close there pupil, witch make them pretty blind, this is something you have to remember when you place them in your aviary! Do NOT  keep them in the full sun!

Aqua, in an aqua bird the yellow psittacin is reduced by approximately 50%. Resulting in an bird that is not blue and not green, it is more in between. The red becomes about 50%paler. Unfortunately the feather structure of the aqua birds are very bad, it is like the aqua mutation in the Red-rumped parakeet. Maybe it will be better if selection takes places when breeding with green birds. 

Pale fallow, almost equal to the bronze fallow but there is some difference. The greyish brown eumelanin content is lesser than in the bronze fallow resulting in a paler colored fallow. An olive yellowish bird and ruby red eyes. Not only the clear red eyes are typical for this type of fallow but also the greenish shade at the lower abdomen. Legs, toes and nails are pink colored. One more tip, because the Fallow has no pupil, the eye appears “more red” and these birds aren’t good in flying because they cannot open or close there pupil, witch make them pretty blind, this is something you have to remember when you place them in your aviary! Do NOT keep them in the full sun!

"Lutino” , note, this is a combination (secondary) mutation and not a primary mutation. Cinnamon combined with a Pale fallow bird will result in a pure yellow bird, also called Lutino (it reduces the visible eumelanin completely) the legs are pink colored and, typical for this mutation, red eyes. The color of the rump is red of the mask stays unaltered. Tip, if you want to breed a “Lutino”, start with a combination of Cinnamon male and Pale fallow female, juveniles males of this combination are the birds to keep! because of the sex-linked factor these males will produce combined with a Pale fallow female “Lutino” female juveniles! A true Lutino is not born yet, and if it is born, how would you recognize it as a primary mutation? The only thing I can think about to recognize a lutino is to carefully look at the eyes, a true Lutino would have pupils whereas a Fallow does not have a pupil (Funny thing not?) One more tip, because the Fallow has no pupil, the eye appears “more red” and these birds aren’t good in flying because they cannot open or close there pupil, witch make them pretty blind, this is something you have to remember when you place them in your aviary! Do NOT keep them in the full sun!

Dominant mutations:

Dominant Pied,the result is a bird with unpigmented patches or areas. This type of pied can vary from a few pied feathers till an almost complete absence of eumelanin. The mask is smaller in appearance in this mutation. Although these birds have a dominant inheritance, it is hard to say whether there is a clear difference between SF and DF birds or not. The picture is showing a male, dominant pied 

Greygreen or Misty, recent reports have been made about new mutation, a grey green Red-crowned kakariki. For now we have to do with a photo, most probably this mutation inherits dominant but I am not sure (yet).