Kaka, an unusual Beach Patrol find

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Ian McLean
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Kaka, an unusual Beach Patrol find

Postby Ian McLean » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:21 pm

Kia Ora
On Sunday 28 April, the Auckland branch of Birds New Zealand undertook a six monthly beach patrol of Pakiri Beach. We found more than 20 seabirds, many of which are still to be identified; however, two of the most distinctive birds to be found were two Kaka.
Close to Pakiri Beach there are populations of Kaka on Hen, Hauturu & Aotea Islands as well the nearby Tauwharanui peninsula & they regulary commute over water between these points & the mainland. I recently saw a pair flying over the ferry half way between the Sandspit & Aotea on the 23rd of March & was alerted to their present by them calling whilst they flew more than 50 metres above the boat.
These two birds found were approx 1.5km apart, had the same level of decomposition (very likely perishing at the same time). There is an obvious difference in the size & shape of the bill indicating a male & a female & perhaps there were a monogamus pair ? Although I knew of the bill differences, the variation was more than I had expected, although this is not obvious in photographs. They look to have died over the sea & had washed ashore, as the bodies are badly decayed I could not find an obvious cause of death. The rarity of this find me makes me wonder whether some type of foul play may be involved in their demise & I am hoping that the Museum &/or DOC staff can examine the remains.
The Warkworth Office of the Department of Conservation has been advised of the find & the intention is for the remains of the birds will be given to the Auckland Museum for examination & use as specimens.
My apologies for the rather harsh photos of birds bodies.
Kind Regards
Ian McLean
Pakiri BP Kaka #2.jpg
Pakiri BP Kaka #2.jpg (212.59 KiB) Viewed 381 times
Pakiri BP Kaka #1.jpg
Pakiri BP Kaka #1.jpg (305.19 KiB) Viewed 381 times
Ian McLean
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Re: Kaka, an unusual Beach Patrol find

Postby Ian McLean » Wed May 15, 2019 5:36 pm

An update is that Shaun Lee has compared the different bill sizes & shapes in the following photo.
Pakiri Beach Kaka Bill Differences.jpg
Pakiri Beach Kaka Bill Differences.jpg (78.07 KiB) Viewed 247 times

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