Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Orange-fronted Parakeet

Cyanoramphus malherbi


Also known as Malherbe's Parakeet, this small, critically endangered, endemic parakeet is considered one of New Zealands rarest birds. At 23-27cm long and weighing in around 50g (females a little smaller), this is a bright green bird with a dark blue outer wing. The forehead is yellow with a diagnostic orange stripe over the top of the bill. Eyes are red in adults and bill and feet grey. Shown here is an adult in worn basic plumage.


Found in depressingly fewer numbers in a few isolated valleys in central South Island in native beech forest and released on a handful of predator free islands. Once common through large areas of the South Island, the population is still declining. New Zealand suffered a catastrophic 'beech mast event' in 2014-2015 with huge amounts of beech tree seed being produced. This in turn fed an explosion in mice and rat numbers which fed other bigger predators like stoats. Not good for a little bird that nests in tree holes and spends a lot of time on the ground. Following PN protocol on critically endangered species, the actual location has been modified.


The name Malherbe's parakeet was given to this bird to try and prevent confusion with the Orange-fronted Conure of America. Once considered a sub of the Yellow-crowned Parakeet, exhaustive DNA profiling has conclusively proved this to be its own species. Ref: NZ Geographic issue 147. Worth a look for those interested.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


triggsturner 4 years ago

Thank you so much for the SOTD and to everyone that has commented and liked this spotting. I am happy to try and lift the profile of this gorgeous little bird here.

hookgv 4 years ago


Christine Y.
Christine Y. 4 years ago

Congrats on another incredible spotting and SOTD! ...and for spotting #250 :).

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 4 years ago

Fantastic spotting! Congrats, Rob.

remkinloch 4 years ago

A well deserved SOTD. Congratulations.

DanielePralong 4 years ago

Congratulations Robert and thanks for bringing us images of this rare bird, it is our Spotting of the Day:



remkinloch 4 years ago

Great series of photos. Such a shame to see another of NZ's beautiful native birds teetering on the edge of extinction.

Spotted by

Wellington, New Zealand

Spotted on Jan 6, 2016
Submitted on Sep 18, 2017

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors

Join the Project Noah Team Join Project Noah Team