nestor notabilis

Nestor (genus)

The genus Nestor, the only genus of the Nestorini tribe, contains two parrot species from New Zealand and one extinct species from Norfolk Island, Australia.

Species list

  • Kea, Nestor notabilis
  • Kākā, Nestor meridionalis
    • North Island Kākā, Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis
    • South Island Kākā, Nestor meridionalis meridionalis
  • Norfolk Island Kākā, Nestor productus (extinct)


The genus Nestor contains three species: The Kākā (Nestor meridionalis), the Kea (N. notabilis), and the extinct Norfolk Island Kākā (N. productus). All three are thought to stem from a 'proto-Kākā', dwelling in the forests of New Zealand 15 million years ago. The closest relative is most likely the Kākāpō (Strigops habroptilus).

A 2005 sex chromosome spindlin DNA sequence study suggests that the Nestor species, and the Kākāpō in its own genus and tribe, comprise an ancient group that split off from all other Psittacidae before their radiation, but fossil evidence seems to contradict this; given the violent geological history of New Zealand (see, for example, Taupo Volcanic Zone), other explanations such as episodes of genetic drift seem better supported by evidence.


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