Fun Orange-fronted Parakeet Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Orange-fronted parakeet facts will give you a sneak peek into New Zealand's wildlife.

The Malherbe's parakeet or the orange-fronted parakeet (Cyanoramphus malherbi) is a bird endemic to New Zealand.

Small and green with a long tail, the Malherbe's parakeet shares its name with the orange-fronted conure or the half-moon conure (Eupsittula canicularis), a parrot native to Central America (resident of Costa Rica and Mexico).

However, the most striking difference between the two birds is that while the Malherbe's parakeet has a distinct lemon-yellow crown, the half-moon conure has a blue crown.

Both have an orange patch on the forehead, which gives each their characteristic common name.

The orange-fronted parakeet, member of order Psittaciformes and family Psittaculidae, is a Critically Endangered bird in the wild and is presently restricted to certain beech forests of New Zealand.

Rare and enigmatic in nature, it is rather difficult to study them due to their apparent similarity with another parakeet species, the yellow-crowned parakeet, also endemic to the islands of New Zealand. While both have a yellowish crown, the yellow-fronted parakeet has a red forehead band.

The otherwise cryptic and discreet Malherbe's parakeet's location is most often given away by its occasional, loud, and brief chatter call.

That's not all to know about the quiet orange-fronted parakeets of New Zealand. So, read on to know more!

If you like what you read, do check out these house wren facts and western bluebird facts

Orange-Fronted Parakeet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an orange-fronted parakeet?

Orange-fronted parakeet (Cyanoramphus malherbi) is a parrot species of the family Psittaculidae native to the islands of New Zealand.

What class of animal does an orange-fronted parakeet belong to?

Orange-fronted parakeets belong to the class Aves which includes all birds.

How many orange-fronted parakeets are there in the world?

According to a 2018 assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, there are about 50-249 mature individuals of the orange-fronted parakeet left in the wild.

Where does an orange-fronted parakeet live?

In the wild, orange-fronted parakeets are almost entirely restricted to beech forests. However, members of this parakeet species have also been reported from alpine and subalpine tussocks as well as open matagouri shrublands.

What is an orange-fronted parakeet's habitat?

The orange-fronted parakeet geographic range is exclusive to three specific regions of South Island, New Zealand.

These areas are the Hawdon River valley, the south branch of the Hurunui River valley in Lake Sumner Forest Park, and the Poulter valley in Arthur's Park National Park. All of these three beech forest valleys are located in the inland Canterbury region of New Zealand.

Some translocated populations of this bird are also found in Chalky Island in Fiordland, Maud Island and Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds, and Tuhua/Mayor Island in the Bay of Plenty.

In their wild habitat, the orange-fronted parakeets are usually found amidst the high canopies of beech trees, feeding on seeds. They may also be found foraging on the ground or among low-level vegetation. They favor the red beech and use the mature trees for nesting in their natural cavities or hollows.

Populations on Maud Island have been found to nest in the pine forests. Rivers and streams in the forest serve the birds' drinking and bathing purposes. Juvenile birds, in particular, prefer dense bushes.

Who do orange-fronted parakeets live with?

Orange-fronted parakeets have been reported to feed in flocks comprising birds of mixed species. Besides, pairs come together to nest during the breeding season. Outside the breeding season, small flocks are common formed during foraging.

How long does an orange-fronted parakeet live?

No information is available regarding the exact lifespan of the orange-fronted parakeet in the wild, perhaps due to the rarity of these birds.

How do they reproduce?

The orange-fronted parakeet breeding season lasts all year round but typically peaks between the months of December and April. These birds are monogamous, that is, they nest with a single partner.

The average clutch size is seven eggs, even though as many as 10 have also been reported. The mating pairs typically nest together for about 35-45 days, during which the eggs are laid and incubated for a period of 21-26 days.

The female of the species is solely responsible for the nesting preparation, subsequent incubation of eggs, and taking care of the nestlings. Males feed females during this time.

The nestlings may take about 43-71 days to fledge but are not fully independent until 2-4 weeks have elapsed. An interval of a day or two may occur between each egg-laying session.

When food is available in abundance, a pair may nest and breed multiple times in succession; the same thing may happen when initial attempts to nest are unsuccessful. Such secondary clutches are most common during beech-seeding events.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the orange-fronted parakeet bird is a Critically Endangered species.

Orange-Fronted Parakeet Fun Facts

What do orange-fronted parakeets look like?

Red-crowned parakeet(Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae)

*Please note this image is of a Red-crowned parakeet( that belongs to the same family as the Orange-Fronted Parakeet. If you have an image of Orange-Fronted Parakeet, please let us know at

The orange-fronted parakeet is one of the most vibrant and colorful parrot species out there. The bird is small to medium-sized with bright blue-green plumage and a long tail.

The primary covert feathers and the leading edge feathers on its wings are a shade of azure blue. The crown is pale lemon-yellow with a distinctive orange band stretched between the eyes.

The eyes are red, and the bill is bluish-gray with a black tip and cutting edge. Juvenile birds have an entirely green head, and the orange frontal band begins to develop only when the bird is about 2-5 weeks old.

In addition, the juvenile birds have a pale pink bill which gradually darkens with age. The rump has orange patches on either side.

Males and females of the species look alike, except that females are slightly smaller with a relatively shorter bill. Also, the males' plumage is a brighter hue.

How cute are they?

No doubt, the sheer size and colorful plumage of the orange-fronted parakeets make them extremely cute and adorable. They are slightly colorful than the green parakeet.

How do they communicate?

One of the most common calls of the orange-fronted parakeet is a loud and rapid chatter that has a range of different lengths and intensities. Churrs and squeaks are also common.

Soft contact calls are heard when a breeding pair is together. These birds have distinctive single note calls for feeding, courtship, and mating. Orange-fronted parakeets make sounds that are more rapid and slightly higher in pitch compared to the similar-looking yellow-crowned parakeet.

How big is an orange-fronted parakeet?

Orange-fronted parakeets range in length between 7.8-9 in (20-23 cm), including the tail. They are a bit shorter than the monk parakeet, which is 11.40 in (28 cm) long.

How fast can an orange-fronted parakeet fly?

No information is available regarding the exact flight speed of the orange-fronted parakeet.

How much does an orange-fronted parakeet weigh?

Male orange-fronted parakeets weigh between 1.6-1.9 oz (45-55 g), and females are slightly smaller, about 1.3-1.7 oz (38-50 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males are generally called cocks, and females are called hens.

What would you call a baby orange-fronted parakeet?

Like most other birds, baby orange-fronted parakeets are called hatchlings, nestlings, or simply chicks.

What do they eat?

The orange-fronted parakeets feed on plant matter as well as small invertebrates. Their plant diet comprises seeds, buds, and flowers. During mast years, seeds from the beech trees become a dominant part of their diet, particularly the nestlings. When it is spring, the birds feed on various invertebrates such as aphids, fungus moth caterpillars, and leaf roller moths.

Are they poisonous?

The orange-fronted parakeet is not known to be poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Since the orange-fronted parakeet is a rare bird species, not much is known about whether they would make good pets. However, considering that they belong to the parrot family that mostly includes excellent companion birds, it can be assumed that the orange-fronted parakeets too would make friendly pets.

Did you know...

The orange-fronted parakeet is known as kākāriki karaka in the indigenous Māori language of New Zealand.

The species name of the orange-fronted parakeet Cyanoramphus malherbi is in honour of the French ornithologist Alfred Malherbe.

Known predators of the orange-fronted parakeet are rats, stoats, and brushtail possums that mainly prey on nestlings and eggs.

The nest of orange-fronted parakeets has a single opening which increases the chances of incubating females getting attacked and killed by predators since they are unable to escape due to limited exit points. Further, the long nesting period and the particularly noisy chicks make them more vulnerable to predation.

In contrast to the mainland populations, the orange-fronted parakeets on Maud Island consume a more plant-based diet than invertebrates.

What is the most common parakeet?

Parakeets are a group of small parrots with a slender build and a typically long and tapering tail. They mostly feed on seeds.

While there are about 115 different species of parakeets, the most common one is perhaps the Australian budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), commonly known as the budgie. Native to Australia, these adorable parakeets are bright green and yellow in color with blue cheeks and black throat patches.

The wing feathers have typical black scalloping patterns. Budgies are widely bred in captivity, where they come in a variety of colors like gray, blue, violet, gray-green, yellow-blue, and white.

They make good pets and have the ability to mimic human speech. Parakeets are not usually dangerous and are not known for being predators or killing other birds.

When kept as pets, these social and outgoing parakeets deserve a lot of care and attention with proper diet, clean surroundings, and adequate social interaction. For starters, they require a spacious cage with enough room to let the birds fly horizontally.

The cage should have a water drinker, a food bowl, and plenty of toys. The diet should comprise of seed mixes, fresh fruits, vegetables, or readymade food pellets. Since the budgies are extremely sociable, it is best to keep them in pairs.

How high can they fly?

No information is available regarding the height up to which parakeets can fly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these parrot facts and robin facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable orange-fronted parakeet coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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