Wildlife paintings, portraits & pet portraits by New Zealand Artist Karen Neal

"Our Forest Treasure"

(New Zealand Native Forest Parrot)

Pastel & Acrylic


After spending time with these wonderful native parrots on Stewart Island, I fell in love with these cheeky characters and I think may possibly be my most favourite New Zealand native bird! Feeding Kaka on Stewart Island was such an unexpected treat, I had only ever seen one Kaka before and that was in Auckland Zoo, so to see them up so close and in the wild was wonderful. When we arrived at our Stewart Island "bach", there was a welcoming party of 7 Kakas, very cheeky and inquisitive, but actually incredibly gentle despite their powerful beaks!!

This reference photo was taken of a North Island Kaka, at Zealandia Eco Sanctuary, near Wellington, a wonderful place to visit - abundant with many New Zealand native birds, free to come and go in a protected predator-free environment. The 225 hectare ecosanctuary is a groundbreaking conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, 6 of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years. 

For those not familiar with Kakas, they are a forest parrot endemic to New Zealand, not to be confused with the closely related mountain parrot, the Kea. Generally heard before they are seen, kaka are large, forest-dwelling parrots that are found on all three main islands of New Zealand and on several offshore islands. Probably fewer than 10,000 birds. Although forest clearance has destroyed all but a fraction of the kaka’s former habitat, the biggest threat to their survival is introduced mammalian predators, particularly the stoat, but also the brushtail possum. Kaka are forest birds that obtain all their food from trees. For more information, please visit www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Open Edition Giclee Prints will soon be available.

Kaka native forest parrot bird artwork

Closeup of the painting below

New Zealand Kaka

I used a lot of metallic Pan Pastels to get the lovely copper and red shimmers.
The background has impasto acrylic and metallics also to create a more interesting contemporary feel

Framed: I chose a double frame, metal outer which went with his colouring perfectly and an inner ribbed frame, as I felt it had an almost oriental/ming feel with the colours/composition.

kaka new zealand forest parrot

Here is a couple of photos from Stewart Island, where the kakas happily live in abundant bush and forest - what an experience. We handfed them nuts & fruit from our hands, very gentle birds despite their powerful beaks!!


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