Friday, 17 December 2010


Strigops habroptilus

(Photo from Topbiologia)

Common name:

Order Psittaciformes
Family Strigopidae

The kakapo is endemic to New Zealand. They are now extinct on their original range and occur
only in a few small islands off the coast of new Zealand, namely Codfish, Chalky, Anchor and Maud.
This large parrot is 58-64 cm long and weighs up to 4 kg. These birds are flightless so the wings are small and not functional.

The species can use a variety of habitats, including tussocklands, scrublands and coastal areas. They also use forests and areas of avalanche and slip debris with regenerating and heavily fruiting vegetation.

This nocturnal bird is herbivorous, mostly eating native plants, seeds, fruits, pollen and even the sapwood of trees.

The kakapo has a lek breeding system. The males loosely gather in an arena where they dig one or more saucer-shaped bowls where they display, using sound to attract the females. The males and females meet only to mate, no pair bonds are formed. After mating the female returns to her territory and lays 1-3 eggs on the ground, under the cover of plants or in cavities such as hollow tree trunks. The female incubates the eggs for 30 days and feeds the young for 3 months until fledging. The young may remain with the mother or several months after fledging and may be fed sporadically for up to 6 months.

IUCN status - CR (Critically Endangered)
The species almost went extinct, mostly due to predation by exotic species, like cats, rats and mustelids. Now extinct in most of New Zealand, the last 124 individuals are confined to 4 small islands and the focus of strong conservation measures that allowed the species to survive. Although the population is now stable or even increasing slightly, the very low population size, the very restricted breeding range and the potential threat of new introductions of predator justifies the critically endangered status.

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