The genus Nestor is the type and only genus of the parrot family Nestoridae. Together with the kakapo, and the extinct parrots in the genus Nelepsittacus, they form the parrot superfamily Strigopoidea. The genus Nestor contains two extant parrot species from New Zealand and two extinct species from Norfolk Island and Chatham Island, New Zealand, respectively. All species are large stocky birds with short squarish tails. A defining characteristic of the genus is the tongue, which is tipped with a hair-like fringe. The superficial resemblance of this tongue to that of lorikeets has led some taxonomists to consider the two groups closely related, but DNA evidence shows they are not.
|New Zealand kaka
All four species in the genus Nestor are thought to stem from a 'proto-kākā', dwelling in the forests of New Zealand 5 million years ago. The closest living relative of the genus is the kākāpō (Strigops habroptila). Together, they form the Strigopoidea, which comprises an ancient group that split off from all other Psittaciformes before their radiation.
There are two surviving species and at least one well documented extinct species in the genus Nestor. Very little is known about the fourth, the Chatham kaka, which may have been conspecific with another kaka species.
- Kea, Nestor notabilis
- New Zealand kaka, Nestor meridionalis
- North Island kaka, Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis
- South Island kaka, Nestor meridionalis meridionalis
- Norfolk kaka, Nestor productus (extinct)
- Chatham kaka, Nestor sp. (extinct)
|Image||Description||Range and habitat|
||48 cm (19 in) long. Mostly olive-green with scarlet underwings and rump. Dark-edged feathers. Dark brown beak, iris, legs, and feet. Male has longer bill.||New Zealand: South Island
High-level forests and subalpine scrublands 850–1400 m AMSL.
|South Island kaka
||Similar to the North Island kaka, but slightly smaller, brighter colours, the crown is almost white, and the bill is longer and more arched in males.||New Zealand: South Island
Unbroken tracts of Nothofagus and Podocarpus forests 450–850 m AMSL in summer and 0–550 m in winter.
|North Island kaka
||About 45 cm (18 in) long. Mainly olive-brown with dark feather edges. Crimson underwings, rump, and collar. The cheeks are golden/brown. The crown is greyish.||New Zealand: North Island
Unbroken tracts of Nothofagus and Podocarpus forests between 450–850 m AMSL in summer and 0–550 m in winter.
||About 38 cm long. Mostly olive-brown upperparts, (reddish-)orange cheeks and throat, straw-coloured breast, thighs, rump and lower abdomen dark orange.||Formerly endemic on Norfolk Island and the adjacent Phillip Island
Rocks and trees
|Appearance unknown, but bones indicate reduced flight capability.||Only known from subfossil bones.||Formerly endemic on Chatham Island of New Zealand
Of the four species, the Norfolk kaka and Chatham kaka became extinct in recent history. The last known individual of the Norfolk kaka died in captivity in London sometime after 1851, and only between seven and 20 skins survive. The Chatham kaka became extinct in pre-European times, after Polynesians arrived at the island, between 1550 and 1700, and is only known from subfossil bones. The mainland New Zealand kaka is listed as endangered, and the kea is listed as vulnerable.
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- BirdLife International (2008). "Nestor notabilis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 24 December 2008. Database entry includes a range map and justification for why this species is endangered.
- "Kea - BirdLife Species Factsheet". BirdLife International. 2008.
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- BirdLife International (2008). "Nestor meridionalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 24 December 2008. Database entry includes a range map and justification for why this species is endangered.
- "Kaka - BirdLife Species Factsheet". BirdLife International. 2008.
- BirdLife International (2008). "Nestor productus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 24 December 2008. Database entry includes a range map and justification for why this species is endangered.
- "Norfolk Island Kaka - BirdLife Species Factsheet". BirdLife International. 2008.
- Millener, P. R. (1999). "The history of the Chatham Islands’ bird fauna of the last 7000 years – a chronicle of change and extinction. Proceedings of the 4th International meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution (Washington, D.C., June 1996).". Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology. 89: 85–109.
- Greenway, James Cowan (1967). Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World (2nd ed.). New York: Dover Publications.
- "Nestor productus - Norfolk Island Kaka specimen(s) in the ZMA". Nlbif.eti.uva.nl. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- "Naturalis - Extinct bird: Nestor productus (Norfolk Island Kaka)". Nlbif.eti.uva.nl. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
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|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Nestor.|