EDGE Species Spotlight
Names: Kākāpō, Owl Parrot or Night Parrot or ‘Mighty Moss Chicken’ (Strigops habroptila)
Size: Adults can grow up to 25 inches tall. They’re chunky and roundish, and weigh anything up to 9lb – a bit like animated watermelons!
Smell: Kākāpō have a distinctive musty scent.
Favourite hangout: New Zealand is the only place in the world these guys call home. Once they lived all over the forested mainland and were one of the country’s most common birds. Now their Critically Endangered population enjoys life on three predator-free islands.
Favourite snack: Without question, rimu berries. Whether or not they’re considered an aphrodisiac, these vitamin D-rich fruit of rimu trees certainly put kākāpō in the mood! They reproduce slowly, whenever crops are super-plentiful – every two to four years.
Toilet humour: Unfortunate kākāpō succumb to a socially awkward disease known as ‘crusty bum’. They lose weight and develop lesions around their you-can-guess-what. Luckily, there’s a hospital for the afflicted. The cause is still unknown, but – yay! – the disease can be treated. Go crusty bum hospital!
Love language: When the year is right, males find a likely ridge or hilltop where they create bowl-like depressions connected by paths. Then they run around making their noises. Females, on the other hand, are simply intent on scoring with Mr Alpha. Which is slightly shortsighted, as the more lovers they have, the more they boost their fertility. Given the small kākāpō population, was there ever better justification for grabbing every opportunity on two legs for a hookup, as you searched for Mr Right?!
Pet peeves: To say these ground-nesters have a phobia of cats, rats, stoats, and dogs, is an understatement. Non-native domestic predators like these practically wiped them out! Of course, they’re terrified…
Growth: Surprise, surprise, once they’ve done their bit to make littluns, you won’t see dads for dust. Possibly to compensate, mommies can be overprotective, with some feeding their kakapo kids months after they’ve fledged and are more than capable of going it alone.
Facts: There’s a reason these gorgeously green, nocturnal parrots are the stars of our mobile game, Kakapo Run. As well as being the world’s heaviest and only flightless parrot, these naturally solitary creatures can live up to 90 years. That makes them quite possibly earth’s longest-lived birds! Although they can’t fly, they use their powerful beaks to climb 65-foot trees, and their short wings to glide to the ground again, usually without mishap.
Personality type: The Go-It-Aloner? Male Diva? Hard-Working Single Mom? Take your pick.
How at risk is it? Critically Endangered (CR).
MOBILE GAME: It's a parrot with a ground-rumbling mating call. It may not be able to fly, but it sure can run!