Antipodes Parakeet Cyanoramphus unicolor


Justification of Red List Category
Chance introductions of carnivorous mammals to the tiny predator-free islands where this species lives could quickly impact it. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,000-3,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends, but the population is suspected to be stable.

Distribution and population

Cyanoramphus unicolor is endemic to the uninhabited and protected islands of the Antipodes, New Zealand. It is common on the main island (20 km2) and Bollons Island (0.5 km2), and occurs in small numbers on Leeward (0.1 km2), Inner Windward (0.1 km2) and Archway (0.1 km2) islets. In 1978, the population was estimated at 2,000-3,000 birds (Taylor 1985). Recent (2013) population estimates (Elliott et al. 2015) give an estimated point estimate of 2142 birds suggesting that the population is stable.


It is found throughout the island habitats, but is most common in the tall, tussock grassland and sedges, particularly near the coast, in well vegetated gullies and near substantial penguin colonies (Greene 1999, Greene and Miskelly 2014, Elliott et al. 2015). The leaves of these grasses form the main part of the species's diet, supplemented with seeds, berries, flowers, carrion and small storm petrels which they are known to kill (Taylor 1985, Greene 1999, Greene and Miskelly 2014, Elliott et al. 2015). It nests in underground burrows, often more than one metre long, in tussock or sedge (Taylor 1985, Greene 1999). In captivity, clutch-size is between five and six, but only one to three fledged young are generally seen with adults in the wild. A single nest has been located in the wild containing 5 eggs (Greene 1999). Young probably start breeding at one year of age. Birds may be quite long-lived - two recaptures from Antipodes Island were at least 10 years old (Heather and Robertson 2015).


Introduced mice may compete for food (A. D. Roberts in litt. 1999). The accidental introduction of predators, such as rats Rattus spp., cats and mustelids Mustela spp., is a potential threat.  Known to hybridise with Reischek’s parakeets in captivity.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The Antipodes Islands are nature reserves, and landing is strictly by permit only. Eradication of mice from the Antipodes was attempted in 2016 and success of this operation will be confirmed (or not) in 2018 (Department of Conservation 2016). Regular monitoring of the C. forbesi population has been underway since 2013 in preparation for the eradication attempt (T. Greene in litt. 2016).


32 cm. Plump, almost all-green parrot. Green head, body with blue wing-coverts, and some flight feathers. Similar spp. Red-crowned Parakeet C. novaezelandiae has red crown, patch behind eye. Voice Wide range of chattering calls, lower-pitched than other Cyanoramphus species.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J., Stringer, C.

Weeber, B., Greene, T., Roberts, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Cyanoramphus unicolor. Downloaded from on 08/03/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 08/03/2021.