This delightful, pudgy, flightless little parrot – well… perhaps not so little; it’s about the size of a small turkey and the heaviest parrot on the planet – is outrageously friendly, affectionate and full of fun. Nocturnal, a polygynous lek breeder and an expert at camouflage, this near prehistoric little bird can live up to 90 years or more. Although a ground dweller, it can also climb trees, and ‘parachutes’ down using its wings for balance and braking. When courting, Kakapos ‘boom’ to their potential mates and can be heard up to 5 kilometres away.
Lowland, podocarp forests, upland beech (Nothofagus)forests and sub alpine scrublands.
What do they eat?
Roots, leaves, fruit and occasionally insects. They have also been known to eat small reptiles.
Dogs, cats, stoats and rats; and browsing animals (introduced) with the same dietary needs, such as possums and deer.
Status: Critically Endangered
The Kakapo is the worlds most endangered parrot, which, in the 1970s, came dangerously close to extinction (once they existed in their hundreds of thousands). It is now part of an extensive protected breeding programme, which has seen numbers increase from 51 birds in 1995, to 124 in 2013. All have been given English names, such as Maggie and Basil.
“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” – Charles Darwin