A cheeky kākā named Rascal is still battered and bruised after probably getting run over, but he's getting a little better each week thanks to the team at the Whangārei Native Bird Recovery Centre.
The centre has had the juvenile bird, thought to be about two-years-old, for five weeks after it was found in the middle of a road near Wellsford.
Bird Centre manager Robert Webb says Rascal was likely hit by a car and received severe hip and leg damage.
"He's starting to use his leg again, but we need to make sure the bruising is totally gone before we release him back into the wild,'' Webb said.
"The bird's legs play an important role, especially when hanging upside in trees to get at food, so he needs to be fully operational."
Webb said kākā have been driven out of the mainland by predators and now mainly survive on offshore islands.
"They're slowly starting to come back and we often see a few this time of year. Department of Conservation pest eradication programmes have also helped, particularly out at Whangārei Heads where rats and mice used to be a real problem."
Webb believes Rascal probably originated from the Hen and Chicken Islands, which is where he'll be released when he's fully recovered.
In the meantime, he's enjoying the Bird Centre's hospitality and feasting on a healthy diet of various nuts, dried apricots, plums, apples, bananas and his particular favourite – pine nuts.
• Whangārei Bird Recovery Centre inundated with dehydrated birds
• Premium - The bird, its poo and the huge power outage that hit Northland
• Forest & Bird files Environment Court appeal for better protection of endangered birds in Northland
• Rare beauty at risk
The Whangārei Native Bird Recovery Centre has cared for and treated thousands of birds since 1992, when it was first established.
The centre takes in all injured birds, both native and non-native, and where possible nurses them back to health for release into the wild. More than 60 per cent of the birds that are brought into the centre are successfully released again.
A special part of the centre is the Bayer incubation unit and kiwi recovery pens. This facility is used to incubate eggs found in the wild and also as a recovery area for injured kiwi.
For more on the Bird Centre visit: www.nbr.org.nz.
■ There are two surviving subspecies of kākā, the North Island kākā with an At Risk
(Recovering) conservation status, and the South Island kākā with a Nationally Vulnerable status. The North Island kākā are slightly smaller and less grey than their southern counterparts. Two species of kākā are extinct; the Chatham Island kaka and the Norfolk kākā.
■ Kākā are social birds, and often flock together, squawking in the early morning and late evening. They used to be as common as sparrows and Māori referred to them as "gossips" because of their large chattering congregations.
■ Kākā are mainly active during the day and awake at night during fine weather or a full moon.
■ Endangered kākā are high fliers of the parrot world. These arboreal sweet-tooths feed on nectar, fruit, seeds, sap, and honeydew at the canopy level of the forest. Their greatest threats come from deforestation and competition for food from possums and wasps.