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 as Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens
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] as Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens.
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument] as Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens.
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] as Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens.
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Extinct (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens
Scientific name Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens [26036]
Family Psittacidae:Psittaciformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author Salvadori, 1891
Other names Cyanoramphus cookii subflavescens [86188]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map not available for this taxon.
Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens

Common name: Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island)

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island), Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens, is considered a valid subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet, Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae, (Boon et al. 2001; Christidis & Boles 2008; del Hoyo et al. 1997; Higgins 1999). It has been suggested by some authorities, however, that the subspecies may actually constitute a separate species (McAllan & Bruce 1988), though this has not been scientifically investigated (McAllan et al. 2004) and no evidence was cited (Christidis & Boles 2008).

Eight subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet were once recognised (del Hoyo et al. 1997; Higgins 1999) but the populations on Norfolk Island and New Caledonia have recently been described as full species (Boon et al. 2001). There are now considered to be six subspecies, of which the two Australian subspecies are extinct.

The extinct Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) was a medium-sized green parrot (length 21–27 cm; weight 80 g [males], 70 g [females]). The head was bright green with a crimson cap and eye-stripe; the eyes were red and the bill was grey. The upperparts were bright green with a dark red patch on either side of the rump (usually concealed by the wings when resting) and a blue leading edge to the wings; and the underparts were bright yellowish-green (Forshaw & Cooper 1981, 2002; Higgins 1999; Hutton 1991). Sexes appeared similar but the female was smaller (Higgins 1999).

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) was recorded as occasionally occurring in flocks (Forshaw & Cooper 2002).

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) was endemic to Lord Howe Island, in the south-west Pacific Ocean (Higgins 1999). It was last recorded in 1869 (Hindwood 1940).

There are no current captive populations of this subspecies and none has been reintroduced into the wild. Other subspecies are, however, kept in captivity (Higgins 1999).

The species as a whole occurs on islands in the south-west Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean, mainly centered on New Zealand and its associated outlying islands of the Kermadec, Chatham, Auckland and Antipodes Groups (Forshaw & Cooper 1981; Higgins 1999; Oliver 1955; Taylor 1975, 1985; Triggs & Daugherty 1996).

There are two extinct populations: one formerly occurred on Macquarie Island and the other on Lord Howe Island (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Hindwood 1940; Taylor 1985). Populations on Norfolk Island and New Caledonia which were formerly considered to be subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet (del Hoyo et al. 1997; Forshaw & Cooper 1981; Higgins 1999) have now been described as separate species (Boon et al. 2001).

Many subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet have declined since the 19th century (Forshaw & Cooper 1981, 2002; Higgins 1999; Oliver 1955). Declines have resulted mostly from modification of habitat, hunting and poisoning, and the introduction of predators (especially cats and rats) and competitors (Forshaw & Cooper 1981; Oliver 1955; Taylor 1975). The species as a whole is not considered to be threatened (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Most of these populations have since stabilised, however, and one, on Macauley Island, in the Kermadec Group, has increased since the removal of goats allowed regeneration of native vegetation (Taylor 1985).

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) and Red-crowned Parakeet (Macquarie Island) (C. n. erythrotis) were the only subspecies of Red-crowned Parakeet to occur in Australia. Both subspecies were distinct and were geographically separate from all other populations (subspecies) of the Red-crowned Parakeet (del Hoyo et al. 1997; Forshaw & Cooper 1981, 2002; Higgins 1999). These two Australian subspecies are now extinct.

There have not been any comprehensive surveys for this species. There have, however, been a number of ornithological surveys on Lord Howe Island in the 20th century (Disney & Smithers 1972; Recher 1974; Recher & Clark 1974), and there has been no sign of the subspecies.

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) is reported to have formerly occurred in large numbers (Hutton 1991; McAllan et al. 2004), although no population estimates are available.

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) occurred in a single population on Lord Howe Island. The species as a whole occurs in several smaller populations, each considered a separate subspecies (Forshaw & Cooper 1981; Higgins 1999).

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) had declined to extinction by the mid to late 19th century, and was last recorded in 1869 (Hindwood 1940).

Though the population on Lord Howe Island is said to have been large (Hull 1909; Hutton 1991), no extreme fluctuations in population numbers were reported. Elsewhere, though, irruptions in numbers have been reported (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

The generation length of the extinct Lord Howe Island subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet is unknown. The generation length of the closely related Norfolk Island Green Parrot Cyanoramphus cookii has been estimated at three years (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

There are no records of the Lord Howe Island subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet cross-breeding with other species in the wild. Populations of other subspecies on the Chatham and Auckland Islands occasionally hybridise with the closely-related Yellow-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus auriceps (Flack 1976; Nixon 1994; Taylor 1975, 1985).

Lord Howe Island was gazetted as a World Heritage Area in 1982, long after the species became extinct.

The Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) inhabited forests, gardens and crops on Lord Howe Island (Hindwood 1940).

There is little information regarding the habitats inhabited by the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island). It probably occurred in inhabited forests and cultivated areas of Lord Howe Island (Hindwood 1940). There is no information on the use of different habitats for different activities.

Many species on Lord Howe Island are threatened or extinct (Garnett & Crowley 2000) and it is possible the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) may have associated with one or more of those species but this is unrecorded.

Nothing is known of the sexual maturity, life expectancy and natural mortality of this extinct subspecies (McAllan et al. 2004). However, Garnett and Crowley (2000) estimate the generation length of the closely related Norfolk Island Green Parrot, Cyanoramphus cookii, to be three years. The generation length is the average age of parents of the current cohort, and therefore reflects the turnover rate of breeding individuals in a population. In species that breed more than once the generation length is greater than the age at first breeding and less than the age of the oldest breeding individual.

Ages of sexual maturity in populations of other subspecies are also unknown (Higgins 1999), though one juvenile female was seen behaving as mated with a male just one week after reaching independance (Greene 1990), and captive birds are said to breed when they are less than one year old (Higgins 1999). Sources of natural mortality in other subspecies include predation of fledgelings by Southern Boobooks, Ninox novaeseelandiae (Higgins 1999).

Nothing is known of the breeding of the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) (McAllan et al. 2004). Other subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet probably breed in response to climatic conditions and availability of food (Forshaw 1981; Taylor 1985); most breeding is recorded between October and February or March, though eggs have also been recorded in April, and young in August. Other subspecies usually nest in tree hollows or hollow spouts, or in crevices in cliffs or among rocks (Forshaw & Cooper 1981, 2002; Higgins 1999; Merton 1970; Oliver 1955; Taylor 1985).

The food of the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) probably consisted of plant material, such as seeds, fruits, buds and leaves form native trees and shrubs (Hutton 1991), and was considered a pest by the early settlers as it attacked and damaged crops (Hindwood 1940). Thus, cultivated fruits and vegetables were probably also a source of food. Other extant populations mainly eat seeds, fruits and berries, buds, shoots and flowers, as well as, occasionally, small numbers of invertebrates (Forshaw & Cooper 1981; Higgins 1999).

The feeding behaviour of the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) is undescribed. Other subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet forage in all levels of the forest, from the canopy of the trees down to the forest floor. When foraging in trees, Parakeets jump, climb or flutter quickly through the foliage and twigs, often pausing briefly to feed by using the bill to remove seed-pods, flowers or the like, before chewing, peeling, husking and eating them, then dropping the remains (Higgins 1999). Parakeets also pierce flowers to gain access to nectar and prise or scrape invertebrates from surfaces (Higgins 1999). When foraging on the ground, they walk quickly then pause to scratch the soil with their feet to expose food, rather like a fowl (Forshaw & Cooper 1981).

Given its endemism, the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) was probably sedentary. Other subspecies are sedentary or resident (Higgins 1999), though birds occurring on archipelagoes may fly between neighbouring islands, sometimes covering up to 40 km over water (Taylor 1985), but most movements are shorter, more usually of several hundred metres or a few kilometres (Fleming 1939; Forshaw & Cooper 1981; Higgins 1999; Taylor 1985).

There is nothing known of the home ranges or territories of the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island). In some other subspecies of the Red-crowned Parakeet, pairs establish breeding territories which are centered around the roosting sites and nest sites and defended before and during the breeding season, though territorial behaviour has not been recorded in others (Greene 1990; Taylor 1985).

The main threat to the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) was hunting and trapping by settlers. It was formerly plentiful on Lord Howe Island (Hull 1909; Hutton 1991) and was said to be a pest as large numbers destroyed cultivated crops and gardens (Hull 1909; Hindwood 1940). It was last recorded in 1869 (Hindwood 1940).

A translocation program may be suitable for the reintroduction of the Norfolk Island Green Parrot (Cyanoramphus cookii) to Lord Howe Island, especially as this species and the Red-crowned Parakeet (Lord Howe Island) may be conspecific (Christidis & Boles 2008). Although unsuccessful translocation programs have been trialed for the Norfolk Island Green Parrot (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Hermes et al. 1986), similar programs have been successful for the Red-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae) in New Zealand. These programs have been successful with as few as 15 birds, but programs with less than 150 birds cause genetic bottlenecks. Low hatchling success in the New Zealand program may be the result of inbreeding depression or poor nest box design (Oritz-Catedral & Brunton 2008).

There have been no major studies conducted on this subspecies. Higgins (1999) summarises all that is known about the species as a whole.

The key management documentation for this subspecies is The Action Plan for Australian Birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000), which summarises the critical ecological and conservation data.

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 Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescensin Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006gn) [Internet].

Boon, W.M., C.H. Daugherty & G.K. Chambers (2001). The Norfolk Island Green Parrot and New Caledonian Red-crowned Parakeet are distinct species. Emu. 101:113-121.

Christidis, L. & W.E. Boles (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal, eds. (1997). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4, Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Disney, H.J. de S. & C.N. Smithers (1972). The distribution of terrestrial and freshwater birds on Lord Howe Island, in comparison with Norfolk Island. Australian Zoologist. 17:1-11.

Flack, J.A.D. (1976). Hybrid parakeets on the Mangere Islands, Chatham Group. Norornis. 23:253-255.

Fleming, C.A. (1939). Birds of the Chatham Islands. Emu. 38:380-413.

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:

Greene, T.C. (1990). Breeding Biology of New Zealand Parakeets on Little Barrier Island. Unpublished report. Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Hermes, N., O. Evans & B. Evans (1986). Norfolk Island birds: a review. Notornis. 33:141-149.

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

Hindwood, K.A. (1940). The birds of Lord Howe Island. Emu. 40:1-86.

Hull, A.F.B. (1909). The birds of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. 34:636-693.

Hutton, I. (1991). Birds of Lord Howe Island: Past and Present. Coffs Harbour, NSW: author published.

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.

McAllan, I.A.W. & M.D. Bruce (1988). The Birds of New South Wales. A Working List. Sydney: Biocon Research Group and New South Wales Bird Atlassers Group.

McAllan, I.A.W., B.R. Curtis, I. Hutton & R.M. Cooper (2004). The birds of the Lord Howe Island Group: a review of records. Australian Field Ornithology. 21:1-82.

Merton, D.V. (1970). Kermadec Islands expedition reports: a general account of birdlife. Notornis. 17:147-199.

Nixon, A.J. (1994). Feeding ecology of hybridizing parakeets on Mangere Island, Chatham Islands. Notornis. 41:5-18.

Oliver, W.R.B. (1955). New Zealand Birds. Wellington, New Zealand: Reed.

Oritz-Catedral, L. & D.H. Brunton (2008). Clutch parameters and reproductive success of a translocated population of red-crowned parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae). Australian Journal of Zoology. 56:389-393.

Recher, H.F. & S.S. Clark (1974). A biological survey of Lord Howe Island with recommendations for the conservation of the island's wildlife. Biological Conservation. 6:263-273.

Taylor, R.H. (1975). Some ideas on speciation in New Zealand parakeets. Notornis. 22:110-121.

Taylor, R.H. (1985). Status, habits and conservation of Cyanoramphus parakeets in the New Zealand region. Moors, P.J., ed. Conservation of Island Birds. 3:195-211. International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP) Technical Publication.

Triggs, S.J. & C.H. Daugherty (1996). Conservation and genetics of New Zealand parakeets. Bird Conservation International. 6:89-101.

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

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). Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Sat, 2 Aug 2014 12:49:21 +1000.