Animal Info -> Birds -> Kakapo

Kakapo

endangered bird species kakapo

The kakapo (strigops habroptila) meaning the night parrot also called the owl parrot is a species of nocturnal parrot endemic to New Zealand. It's a bird with finely blotched yellow-green plumage, a distinct facial disc of sensory, vibrissa-like features, a large grey beak, short legs, large feet, wings and a tail of short range. It is only flightless bird in the world, the heaviest parrot, nocturnal, herbivorous, and visibly sexually dimorphic in body size, has a low basal metabolic rate, no male parental care, and is the only parrot to have a polygynous lek breeding system. It is one of the world's longest living birds. Its structure specifies the tendency of bird evolution on oceanic islands with few predators and abundant food.

 

Kakapos are endangered, on April 2009 only 125 living individuals were known. Around 82 million years ago the common ancestor of the kakapo and the genus nestor were separated from the remaining parrot species when New Zealand broke off from Gondwanan. The kakapo diverged from the genus nestor about 70 million years ago. The ability to fly was lost due to the absence of the mammalian predators. The kakapos were wiped out due to Polynesian and European colonization and the introduction of the predators like cat, rat and stoats. The conversation efforts of 1890s were not successful until the implementation of the kakapo recovery plan in the 1980s. The surviving kakapos are kept on two predator free islands, Codfish (Whenua Hou) and Anchor islands in January 2009 and are monitored closely. The species has been well known after the conversation of the kakapo.

The conservation of the Kakapo has made the species well known. Many books and documentaries detailing the plight of the Kakapo have been produced in recent years, one of the earliest being Two in the Bush, made by Gerald Durrell for the BBC in 1962. Two of the most significant documentaries, both made by NHNZ, are Kakapo - Night Parrot (1982) and To Save the Kakapo (1997). The BBC's Natural History Unit also featured the Kakapo, including a sequence with Sir David Attenborough in The Life of Birds. It was also one of the endangered animals that Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine set out to find for the radio series and book Last Chance to See. An updated version of the series is in production, in which Stephen Fry revisits the animals featured to see how they're getting on almost 20 years later. In January 2009, he spent time on Codfish Island with the Kakapo.

Many books and documentaries have been published during the recent years detailing the plight of kakapo. Some of them are "TWO IN THE BUSH"(1962) by Gerald Durrell, "KAKAPO - NIGHT PARROT" (1982), "TO SAVE THE KAKAPO" (1997), BY NHNZ.

The Maori, indigenous people of New Zealand gave historical importance kakapo like many other species.

 

 

 

 
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