Sunday, October 19, 2014

Creature Feature #365: Kakapo

The Kakapo is a flightless parrot, found only in New Zealand. He is classified as Critically Endangered with a population of less than 130 and a dedicated consevation program in place. Kakapo are long-lived and slow-breedings, only reproducing when the rimu trees mast-seed, about every 3-5 years. The male digs himself a shallow bowl and crouches in it, inflating himself up like a balloon and emitting a low booming call, that can be heard up to 5 kms away. Once mated, the female lays her eggs in a burrow - which makes her vulnerable to predators such as stoats and feral cats. It takes 9-10 years for these chicks to reach sexual maturity. Once Kakapo were common throughout the country, but a combination of this slow breeding system, habitat destruction and hunting by humans and introduced mammal led to its very-near extinction, with only 51 birds left in 1995.

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