Kakapos are world-famous for their bizarre appearance, and their rarity. With a global population of merely 123 adults, a bumper breeding season looks set to increase their population by nearly a third
By Christina Holvey
2 August 2016
In a land renowned for unusual creatures, New Zealand’s "owl parrot" or kakapo is surely a candidate for the most outrageous. The size of a small dog but with stature of a penguin, this large, rotund bird has an owl shaped head and cat-like whiskers.
Being the heavyweight of the parrot world means the kakapo is flightless, and preferring its own nocturnal company makes it pretty antisocial too. One aspect the kakapo has in common with some of its airborne cousins is extreme longevity, with certain individuals known to live for 120 years.
Befitting a bird that is in it for the long haul they are also notoriously picky breeders, only attempting to reproduce once every three to five years and coinciding with when their favourite food, the fruit of the rimu tree, is in plentiful supply.