It is the world’s heaviest parrot and also the world’s flightless parrot.
When these two traits are added to the fact that it is a nocturnal, lek-breeding parrot, it becomes a bit of an oddball!
The Kakapo, Strigops habroptilus, is the largest native parrot in New Zealand. It is nocturnal, flightless, and wholly solitary. After extensive predation, primarily owing to introduced predators, the species’ low point occurred in the mid-1990s, when there were barely 50 individual birds left. The species has been saved from extinction thanks to a comprehensive conservation effort.
Finely blotched yellow-green to emerald green plumage covers the Kakapo, with more yellow on the belly.
Kakapos are solitary birds that eat leaves, buds, flowers, fern fronds, bark, roots, rhizomes, bulbs, fruit, and seeds. Then, at night, they climb trees to roost during the day.
After a productive fruiting season, the breeding season comes in the summer and autumn. Males congregate in “arenas” for lek breeding, which are a series of bowls where they make deep, booming cries to attract females. The sound, which resembles a distant short sonic boom, can travel up to several kilometers.
Nests are constructed on or beneath the ground, as well as beneath dense vegetation. The species’ female lays one to four eggs on the ground, which she turns over several times during the incubation period.
Cats continue to pose a significant threat to kakapo, and rodents can kill stoats, their eggs, and chicks. Their future seems considerably better thanks to a massive conservation campaign.
Despite their vibrant glossy violet coats, these birds are more likely to be heard than seen!
Watch a video about them here: