As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

12 cool facts about the oddball kakapo

This parrot smells funny, can't fly and takes courtship seriously.

April 6, 2016, 1:27 p.m.

Sirocco has become the ambassador parrot for kakapo conservation. (Photo: Sirocco Kākāpō/Facebook)

The kakapo is an unusual bird. The world's largest parrot was common throughout its native New Zealand until predators hunted it to the brink of extinction. Now the stocky green-and-yellow bird is critically endangered, and it's the focus of a considerable conservation effort from the New Zealand Department of Conservation's Kakapo Recovery program. There are currently 123 known adult birds, each named and extensively monitored.

From its funky facial hair to its elaborate courtship rituals, the kakapo is certainly special. Here are a dozen strange facts about this unique bird.

This bird doesn't really look like a parrot.

The kakapo looks more like an owl. It has a whisker-y face that looks as if it's sporting muttonchops or sideburns.

It's a nocturnal loner.

Its name means "night parrot" in Maori, and it prefers solo nighttime walkabouts. Kakapo Recovery calls the parrot a "midnight rambler" due to its penchant for sleeping all day and wandering through the forest alone at night. These birds typically tuck themselves into a tree alone during the day and head out as a party of one in the evenings to find food. They look for company only when it's time to breed.

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