Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Extinct
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument].
List of Migratory Species - Amendment to the list of migratory species under section 209 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (26/11/2013) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2013af) [Legislative Instrument].
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Extinct (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
NGO: Listed as Extinct (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Nestor productus [25891]
Family Psittacidae:Psittaciformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Gould, 1836)
Infraspecies author  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map not available for this taxon.
Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Nestor productus

Common name: Norfolk Island Kaka

The Norfolk Island Kaka Nestor productus is considered to have been be a conventionally accepted species (Christidis & Boles 1994; Higgins 1999).

The Norfolk Island Kaka was a large parrot with a short, broad bill, short, broad wings, and massive legs and feet. It was 38 centimetres long. The top of its head was brownish grey, but the rest of its face varied from yellow to orange, sometimes with a reddish tinge. Its hindneck was said to have been greenish yellow, but the upperparts, including the wings, were mostly grey brown, slightly darker than the top of the head, with the lower back and rump dark red or orange, and the tail brown. The upper breast was greyish brown and the lower breast bright yellow, with the belly and flanks reddish orange (Forshaw & Cooper 1981, 2002; Greenway 1958). Its social structure and dispersion are unrecorded, but the closely related Kaka (Nestor meridionalis) of New Zealand occurs singly or in small groups of up to 10 individuals (Higgins 1999).

The Norfolk Island Kaka is extinct. It formerly occurred only on Norfolk Island and nearby Phillip Island (Higgins 1999). It is thought that the species had a very limited ability to move between islands, and probably spent its entire life on the island of its birth (Gould 1865).

The Norfolk Island Kaka was occasionally kept in captivity as the birds were tame and readily captured alive (Gould 1865). The species survived in captivity until after it had become extinct in the wild (Greenway 1958). Small populations are thought to have survived on Philip Island for a short while after extinction on Norfolk Island (Greenway 1958; Gould 1865). There are no known captive populations and none have been reintroduced into the wild.

There have not been any comprehensive surveys for this species. There have, however, been a number of ornithological surveys on Norfolk Island since the Norfolk Island Kaka became extinct (e.g. Bell 1990; Robinson 1988; Schodde et al. 1983; Smithers & Disney 1969), but there has been no sign of the species.

The Norfolk Island Kaka declined to extinction in the wild some time in the first half of the 19th century (Iredale 1911; Knox & Walters 1994). The last known bird died in captivity in London in 1851 (Garnett & Crowley 2000). There is no information available on the population size of the species prior to its decline.

The Norfolk Island Kaka inhabited areas of native forest on Norfolk Island and nearby Phillip Island (Greenway 1958). The species occurred in both the canopy of tall trees and among rocks on the ground (Gould 1865; Greenway 1958).

Little is known of the breeding of the Norfolk Island Kaka other than it laid clutches of four eggs in tree-hollows (Gould 1865).

The Norfolk Island Kaka is known to have fed on nectar from the flowers of the White-wood tree (Lagunaria patersonia) (Gould 1865). It doubtless also ate other items as well (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Captive birds ate lettuce and the leaves of other vegetables, as well as dairy foods and fruit juice (Gould 1865). The Norfolk Island Kaka presumably foraged in both on the ground and in the canopy (Gould 1865).

Given its endemism on Norfolk Island, the Norfolk Island Kaka was presumably sedentary. The Kaka of New Zealand is generally resident throughout its range, but some individuals may disperse over long distances (Higgins 1999).

Nothing is known of the home ranges or territories of the Norfolk Island Kaka. The Kaka of New Zealand occupy home ranges of about 15.5 ha (Beaven 1996).

The extinction of the Norfolk Island Kaka is thought to have resulted from hunting for food by convicts (Ashby 1924; Greenway 1958), though it was probably also adversely affected by clearance of native habitat for the establishment of agriculture (Garnett & Crowley 2000). It was last recorded in the wild some time in the first half of the 19th century (Iredale 1911; Knox & Walters 1994), but survived in captivity until 1851 (Greenway 1958).

There have been no major studies on the species. Higgins (1999) summarises all that is known about the species. The Action Plan for Australian Birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000) also provides a brief summary of the species.

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Nestor productus in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ra) [Internet].

Ashby, E. (1924a). Notes on extinct or rare Australian birds. Emu. 23:178-83.

Beaven, B.M. (1996). Sap Feeding Behaviour of North Island Kaka (Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis, Lorenz 1896) in Plantation Forests. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis. M.Sc. Thesis. Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato.

Bell, B.D. (1990a). The Status and Management of the White-breasted White-eye and Other Birds on Norfolk Island. Report to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.

Christidis, L. & W.E. Boles (1994). The Taxonomy and Species of Birds of Australia and its Territories. Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union Monograph 2. Melbourne, Victoria: Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.

Forshaw, J.M. & W.T. Cooper (1981). Parrots of the World. Melbourne, Victoria: Lansdowne.

Forshaw, J.M. & W.T. Cooper (2002). Australian Parrots, 3rd edition. Robina, Queensland: Alexander Editions.

Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley (2000). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia and Birds Australia. Available from:

Gould, J. (1865). Handbook to the Birds of Australia. London: Author.

Greenway, J.C. (1958). Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World, Special Publication No. 13. New York: American Committee for International Wild Life Protection.

Higgins, P.J. (ed.) (1999). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume Four - Parrots to Dollarbird. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Iredale, T. (1911). An additional note on the birds of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. 35:773-782.

Knox, A.G. & M.P. Walters (1994). Extinct and endangered birds in the collections of The Natural History Museum. Occasional Publication 1. Tring, England: British Ornithologists Club.

Magrath, M.J.L., M.A. Weston, P. Olsen & M. Antos (2004). Draft Survey Standards for Birds: Species Accounts. Melbourne, Victoria: Report for the Department of the Environment and Heritage by Birds Australia.

Robinson, D. (1988). Ecology and management of the Scarlet Robin, White-breasted White-eye and Long-billed White-eye on Norfolk Island. Report to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.

Schodde, R., P. Fullagar & N. Hermes (1983). A review of Norfolk Island birds: past and present. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service Special Publication. 8.

Smithers, C.N. & H.J. Disney (1969). The distribution of terrestrial and freshwater birds on Norfolk Island. Australian Zoologist. 15:127-140.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Nestor productus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:04:59 +1000.