Is it an owl? Is it a budgie? No, it’s a kakapo!

The kakapo or night parrot is a spectacular bird native to New Zealand. It is the only land bird able to build up body fat and at two kilograms it is the world’s heaviest parrot. This nocturnal herbivore is camouflaged by flecks of green and if approached by a predator it will freeze in its tracks, making it confusable with a mossy rock. The kakapo sadly can’t fly but climbs trees with ease and it can walk several kilometres in one night while foraging for fruit, leaves and roots.

Every 2-4 years the kakapo breeds, where the male attracts females to a dug-out love nest with its booming mating call that can be heard for miles around. Female kakapo nest and raise their young on the ground to avoid their only natural predator, the now extinct giant eagle.

Although the threat from this ancient eagle is gone many animals have been introduced to the kakapo’s home that have easy access to their ground-based nests, such as cats. Thankfully, a kakapo recovery programme and countless volunteers have helped conserve this beautiful bird and their numbers are on the rise.

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