Kakapo parrot is a unique, friendly, and unusual bird.
They are the world's largest parrot and before predators were introduced by settlers they were a very common bird throughout NZ.
These funny and friendly birds are now critically endangered with none left on the mainland. There are around 213 of them left split across 4 isolated and predator-free islands.
Their sheer size, funny personalities, and weird mating rituals make the Kakapo one unique and very special bird.
Flightless Clumsy & Forgetful
Some Kakapo have been seen forgetting they can't fly and attempting to climb trees and jump off the ends of the branches. Only to plummet back to earth like a brick.
It is theorized that with such an abundance of food sources on the forest floor and no risk of predators the Kākāpō slowly evolved to being a permanent ground dweller.
Kākāpō Parrot Photo: ANGELO GIANNOUTSOS
11 Fun Kakapo Facts
- They are the world's only flightless parrot.
- They are the heaviest parrots in the world.
- They freeze when startled.
- They smell like your attic.
- They are friendly.
- They are hardy birds.
- They can be forgetful.
- They compete in a sing-off against other Kākāpō for courtship.
- They are critically endangered.
- They can live to over 95 years old.
- Every Kākāpō has a name.
Kakapo Parrot Population
Photo of Kākāpō Chicks New Zealand
Before the arrival of man, there were millions of Kākāpō roaming the native forest floors.
People wonder why there are so few Kākāpō and other native birds left?
It's rather simple, they have all adapted for a long time to a predator-free environment.
Since the arrival of the Māori and the English, all species have fallen prey to both man and introduced pests alike.
The biggest culprits are rats, cats, stoats, and ferrets. None of which are endemic to New Zealand.
Because they have adapted to flightless ground life and nest underground or on the forest floor they have become easy prey for any predator.
Sadly this why there are none left on the Mainland (North & South Island) and have been isolated to 4 predator-free islands around the coast of New Zealand.
On the 17th of Septemeber 2009, there was officially 213 Kākāpō left alive.
Kakapo Parrot Size - The Largest Parrot in The World
It's a sturdy light-footed parrot weighing in at a 4.4 - 8.8 pounds.
Males are the biggest at around 2-4kgs (4.4 - 8.8lbs) compared to females at around 1-2.5 kgs (2.2 - 5.11lbs) and measure 58-64cm (23-25") in length.
These weights crown the Kākāpō the heaviest parrot in the World.
The Kakapo Strange Mating Rituals
You may have seen this funny video of a Kākāpō trying to mate a BBC reporter.
What's funny is the way he acts is exactly how he acts in the wild with females.
But this is how their unique and complete ritual goes down...
For 100 days every year, they perform these rituals.
They blow up like balls.
Then create a 'boom' like sound to attract the females.
The funny thing is their mating call is a bass sound, and one downside to bass is that you cannot determine where it is coming from.
So even if the female likes the sound of the bass concert she struggles to find its source.
They use another series of clicks called 'chinging' when they think the female is closer to help her find them.
Kakapo Birds Lifespan
Potentially they are one of the longest-living birds.
The Kākāpō average life expectancy is 60 years (+/- 20 years).
Some have been speculated to live for over 95 years.
Females don't start breeding until the late age of 6 years old with males at 4 years old.
Typically females will lay one egg, underground, or in a burrow.
If you want to hear the real sound of the Kākāpō listen to the video below.
This is their typical 'squawking' like call.
Sounds like something out of Jurassic Park.
Kākāpō are the heavyweights of the Parrot world. Weighing as much as 8lbs they are the World's, Heaviest Parrot.
Despite their size, they have adapted to a predator-free environment so without our help, these magnificent and rare parrots will perish.
They are full of character and very important for the ecosystem of New Zealand's native forests.Slowly they have shown positive recovery rates in their isolated habitats that are free of predators thanks to the relentless work by a number of amazing people and organisations throughout New Zealand.