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Thursday, 7 January 2010

The World´s Rarest And Strangest Parrot

The Kakapo is currently known as the world’s rarest and strangest parrot due to its unusual habits. Kakapo are the only parrots that are flightless and mostly active at night, as well as the heaviest, sometimes reaching up to 4kg in weight at maturity. Their courtship is known as “lekking”, where the males gather together to compete and to call the females with a loud and out of the ordinary booming noise. This boom can be heard from 1 to 5 km away, and attracts the females from across the land. Female Kakapo can lay up to three eggs per breeding cycle. After mating the female assumes full liability for nest building, incubation (approximately 30 days), and raising the chicks once they have hatched. It takes about 10 to 12 weeks of age before the chicks are able to depart from their nest.

These unusual birds are endemic throughout the rainforests and grasslands of New Zealand. The Kakapo is strictly vegetarian, eating native plants such as fruit, seeds, leaf buds, green shoots, pollen, and even moss and fungi. Their lifespan can reach up to 60 years, now that’s what I call a mighty age for a bird! Kakapo are solitary birds, they maintain large territories and if another Kakapo happens to intrude, the resident kakapo emits a type of “skraarking” noise in order for it to leave. Although the Kakapo cannot fly; they are good climbers and use their wings as a sort of parachute when they jump from trees as well as for balance and support when they walk and run. Kakapo have the smallest wing size of any other parrot; their feathers are very soft and moss-green in color, with some black on their back and yellow green feathers on their belly, which blends well with native vegetation. Their pronounced claws are particularly useful for climbing.

Before the arrival of humans, many Kakapos used to wonder throughout the three main islands of New Zealand, but now there are fewer than 100 of them. The Kakapo has been classified as a critically endangered species. They are threatened due to predatory animals such as cats, dog’s, stoats, and so on that settlers brought along with them to New Zealand. Unfortunately, they were also hunted for food and eaten by the settlers. Habitat loss was also another problem. The name of this extraordinary creature is derived from the Maori language, which means "night parrot".
Source: Wikipedia

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