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Strigops habroptila

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Illustration Kakapo


Males can reach up to 60 cm. and weigh between 3 and 4 kg.

The Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) It is a robust and stocky bird with wings short in relation to the rest of the body.

grown ups, on upperpartsr, are MOSS Green, pulling a beige. All his upperparts they are spotted black and brownish gray, What gives them an excellent camouflage in its environment. The chest and flanks are yellowish green with streaks of yellow. The abdomen, under the tail, the neck and face are yellow, mostly streaked with pale green and imperceptible gray-brown spots.

Their feathers they are surprisingly soft, since they do not need the strength and the necessary stiffness for flying birds.

The Kakapo shows a composite facial disc of feathers fine, giving it the appearance of an owl.

Its bill it is surrounded by fine whiskers that are very useful for testing the ground when moving through the undergrowth.

The mandible it is mostly ivory color, but with a bit of blue-gray in the upper jaw.

Their eyes are dark brown. Their long and scaly legs they have long claws which serve to climb.

The end of the feathers of the tail It tends to end up worn down by the continuous friction with the ground.

The females they are very different from your partner. Its head is narrow and has a crown less rounded. Their peaks they are narrow and elongated. Less muscular legs, a grayish pink. Its tail is more elongated. Though their plumage is hardly different from males, appears less mottled beige.

The nesting females they are also distinguished by the cushion of bare skin that develops on the abdomen during the incubation period.


Before the humans arrived to New Zealand, the Kakapo lived in a wide variety of habitats, pastures with clumps of grass, scrub and coastal regions.

They were also the primary forests, including those who were dominated by lush podocarp and false have the gender Nothofagus. In the region of Fiordland, to the southwest of South Island, the Kakapo they frequented areas of avalanches and landslides, small regenerated trees or vegetation with abundant fruit.

These regions contained among other plants, Japanese raspberry wine (Rubus phoenicolasius), Shrubby Veronica (genus Scrophulariaceae) and Coprosmas. It was known as “kakapo gardens

Given its inability to fly, the Kakapo It, mainly, a terrestrial bird. This is also a excellent climber able to reach the tops of the tallest trees. Leave the foliage practicing a decline “in parachutes”, spreading their wings in all their amplitude.

When the Kakapo is threatened, simply is still trying to pass unnoticed in the vegetation, with which is camouflaged. This was a great strategy to avoid his great enemy, the gigantic Haast's Eagle, but does not protect against introduced mammals.

Son nocturnal birds. They sit during the day and roam their territory during the night period.. Having lost the ability to fly, the Kakapo they have developed remarkable skills for their long haul. His powerful legs allow them to make long distances at night to feed or during the time of nesting that it takes place from October to January.

During courtship, the males they abandon their traditional territories and walk many kilometers to reach the top of the hills or a crest to establish their mating area, competing in the place to try to conquer the location that appears most advantageous to them. Conflicts often lead to serious injury and are sometimes fatal for the belligerents.

To appeal to the females, the males they emit a kind of explosions that produce dilating a bag in the area of the chest. After a series of 20 explosions, is right and take a break. Then lower the head again to issue a new series of explosions. Inside its cavity, move to make sounds in all directions. on clear days, These explosions can be heard more than one kilometre away. The males get involved in this type of sample for nearly eight hours at night. Each male produces thousands of explosions during 3 or 4 months. During this time, males sometimes lost half of their body mass.


During the time of reproduction, the Kakapo they use a system of “Lek“. The “Lek” it is the space dedicated to the parade within which the males gather in loose groups in an attempt to attract and seduce the females. Females are very attentive spectator and choose your partner according to the quality of your display. Females are not persecuted openly by males.

It is not set no marital bond. The “Lek” It is only a meeting place that serves only for mating. The space for processions They consist of one or more small depressions of 10 cm of depth and 50 cm in diameter dug into the soil. The holes are usually do about faces of rocks, banks, or tree trunks, to help the sound bounce. The holes of each male are connected. The various depressions are interconnected by a network of small roads that cleaned thoroughly of all plant debris.

As soon as the male's cry is heard, the female embarks on a long journey to reach the area Lek. As soon as it enters the lek mating area, the male begins its rituals. It sways from side to side emitting clicks with the peak. He turns his back on his future partner, It spreads its wings and walk back towards her. Once mating has occurred, The female returns to her area of ​​origin to lay her eggs and raise her young.. The male stays in place of courtship for try to seduce a new female.

The Kakapo they usually put 3 eggs per season. The nest placed on the ground under vegetation cover or in a hollow of a tree. The female incubated during 30 days, but you must leave the nest at night to feed, leaving the door open to many predators. After the eggs have hatched, She It feeds the chicks for three months, these will still remain in the company of their mother for a few more months. Since they have a life relatively long, the Kakapo have a fairly prolonged adolescence. Males do not begin courting until the age of 5 years and females do not respond to the calls of the males until they have reached the age of 9 or 11 years.


The peak of the Kakapo It is especially suitable for grinding food finely. For this reason, they have a gizzard less developed than most birds of its size.

The Kakapo they have a menu that is mostly herbivore. They used native plants, seeds, fruit, pollen and even the SAP flowing from the trees.

In a study of 1984, 25 different types of plants have been identified as part of your diet. Is particularly fond of the fruit of the rimu tree, and they feed on it exclusively during seasons when it is abundant. The Kakapo He has a habit of distinctive grab a leaf or frond with a foot and stripping the nutritious parts of the plant with its beak, leaving a non-digestible fiber ball. These small groups of vegetable fibers are a distinctive sign of the presence of the bird.


In the past, the Kakapo they were in the Islands North Island and South Island of New Zealand.

The species has suffered a sharp decline since the European colonization, and now it is one of the rarest birds in the world.


Despite the fact that it disappeared from most of its original range following human colonization, the species remained abundant in Fiordland and some other places of great rainfall was scarce in the inhabited areas of South Island until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1976, However, the known population had been reduced to 18 birds, all males, all in Fiordland.

In 1977, found to be a rapid decline in the population of birds, about 150, on Stewart Island. Among 1980 and 1992, the 61 other birds of the Stewart Island they were transferred to the islands of the coast, and are currently in Codfish and Anchor island. The last accepted records were in North Island in 1927, three males reported in South Island, in Fiordland in 1987, and the last record in the Stewart Island of a female found and transferred to the Codfish Island in 1997.

In 2009, a male of the transferred four of Stewart Island to Isla Codfish in 1987, It was rediscovered after having been missing for 21 years.

It is likely that it is extinct in its natural distribution area, but, from November of 2005, birds are still present on four islands: Isla Codfish, Chalky, Anchor and Maud island.

In 1999, 26 females and 36 males survived, which includes 50 individuals in reproductive age, six subadults and six juveniles.

The population was stabilized, and has started to increase slowly following the application of intensive management. In the 2005, the population of the Kakapo stood in 86 specimens, of which 52 they were of reproductive age (21 females and 31 males) and 34 they were underage; a productive breeding year in the 2009 He saw the increase of the population up to 124 specimens, and it was known of the existence of 126 birds at the beginning of 2012, including 78 adult players.


Critically Endangered

• Current Red List of UICN: critically endangered

• Population trend: Increasing

In the Stewart Island, more than the 50% of adults monitored died, each year, attacked by cats (CLOUT and Merton 1998).

An abnormal low fertility and low natural rates of reproduction and mating are the main concerns.

In 2004, three young people died of septicaemia caused by bacteria Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae (erysipelas), a disease that had not been previously reported in this species (P. Jansen in litt. 2004)

They are subject to a plan of support by the authorities of New Zealand. Their number is currently estimated at little more than one hundred of copies, increases slowly with the plan.

At the beginning of 2012 there was 126 specimens, among them 78 adult players (RJ Moorhouse in litt. 2012).

"Kakapo" in captivity:

The only birds in captivity are those bred in the Recovery program of the Kakapo.

In terms of their longevity, debido a su largo ciclo de vida y la ausencia de depredadores naturales, es posible que el Kakapo viva más de 60 years.

Alternative names:

Kakapo, Owl Parrot (English).
Strigops kakapo, Kakapo, Perroquet hibou (French).
Kakapo, Eulenpapagei (German).
Kakapo (Portuguese).
Kakapo (español).

scientific classification:

Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Strigopidae
Genus: Habroptilus
Scientific name: Strigops habroptila
Citation: Gray, GR, 1845
Protonimo: Strigops habroptilus

Images “Kakapo”:

Videos "Kakapo"


“Kakapo” (Strigops habroptila)


– Parrots of the World – Forshaw Joseph M
– Parrots A Guide to the Parrots of the World – Tony Juniper & Mike Parr
– Birdlife


(1) – Pura, a 1-year-old Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) on Codfish Island By Mnolf [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
(2) – Kakapo Pura on Codfish Island By Mnolf [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
(3) – Kea, on the road to Milford Sound Uploaded by The Rambling Man – Wikipedia
(4) – Kakapo Sirocco amongst the renga renga lillies. Maud Island. Photo: Chris Birmingham, 2012 – Flickr
(5) – Kakapo by jidanchaomian – Flickr
(6) – Birds of New Zealand 1st edition, by Walter Lawry Buller, published in 1873 By John G. Keulemans. Minor edits have been made to the original by User:Msikma; I release these changes into the public domain as well. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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