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Kakapo – A Rare Flightless Parrot On The Verge Of Extinction

The Kakapo – A Rare Flightless Parrot On The Verge Of Extinction
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Two decades ago, there were around 51 kakapos fighting for survival on Earth. It was an agreed notion that these giant parrots were racing towards extinction. Nocturnal by nature, they are active in the night and rest during the daytime.

A Kakapo is a three syllable word and is pronounced as ‘kaa’ + ‘kuh’ + ‘poh’.

Kakapo Facts

Kakapo Lifespan

They live life actually at a very slow pace. In this species, male birds start breeding only after they turn four years old.

Female birds start breeding not before they are six years of age.

Their general lifespan is over 90 years.

Kakapo Length (size)

The adult bird measure from 23 to 25 inches in length. The weight varies between 2 and 9 lb at maturity.

In general, male birds are quite larger than female ones.

What Do Kakapos Eat?

It relishes on a herbivorous diet. They eat flowers, berries, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They are fond of the rimu fruit.

Why Are Kakapos Endangered?

Once popular in New Zealand, these birds were “sitting ducks” for invasive animals. It includes stoats, cats, rats, and dogs, brought by humans.

To save these birds from extinction, bird lovers shifted them to three different islands. These islands are Little Barrier Island, Maud Island, and Codfish Island.

Monumental steps were taken to remove predators from all these islands. This step was needed to safeguard both the bird and their eggs. Invasive predators are not the only threat to them.

Kakapo Population At present

At present, there are close to 147 adults. It is listed as endangered species.

It is inbreeding that has affected the fertility and they are now more prone to other diseases.

How To Track A Kakapo?

They can weigh close to 9 lbs. These nocturnal birds are not easy to track. They spend their time hiding in thick forest cover.

The conservationists are employing a range of technologies to track the movement of the birds. Every bird is fitted with a transmitter. They have prepared the island in such a way to track these transmitters and send the collected information to the team.

The team analyzes this data to understand where they are nesting. The data also tracks the mating details of each bird.

Kakapo Sound

Kakapo Breeding Season

These birds breed only once when the island produces Rimu trees. This fruit is rich in vitamin D and calcium. Researchers prefer birds to be of the correct weight for different activities including chick-raising, egg-laying, and courtship.

All the birds are subjected to natural breeding but the team is working on an insemination program.

What Does The Future Hold?

There are people who love this bird. With money pouring in from all quarters, a  hardworking conservation team, it looks great for these flightless birds.

Sirocco Kakapo

Sirocco is a large nocturnal flightless parrot. It is one of the 140 odd remaining kakapos on Earth.

Interesting Facts 

  • Name – Got the name Sirocco after inspiration by a North African desert wind. Sirocco’s mother name is Zephyr.
  • Date of Birth – 23 March 1997
  • Sex – Male
  • Likes to eat – Macadamia nuts, kumara, broccoli, carrots, corn, and parrot pellets. In short, they are veggies. They love the fruit and leaves of native trees.

Global Sensation

Sirocco gained popularity in 2009 due to a funny incident involving zoologist Mark Carwardine.

Mark was shooting “Last Chance to See” with Stephen Fry, a top British actor. The clip showed Sirocco trying hard to mate with Mark’s head.

This youtube clip clocked around 7 million views.

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