Kakapo Facts
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• The kakapo is the heaviest parrot in the world, some of the males can weigh up to four kilograms.

• Kakapo is Maori for night parrot.

• Maori used kakapo feathers to make cloaks.

• Early prospectors caught the kakapo for food.

• The kakapo is in the top ten of the most endangered birds.


Kakapo are vegetarians! They have a strict rule not to eat any meat. They would rather chew on almonds and the females in particular like the taste of kumara.

Often the kakapo can be seen quietly munching on petals, roots and stems of some native plants.

The National Kakapo Team feed them muesli especially made for them. It kind of gives them a wake up call saying "Kakapo, start breeding!!!" It also makes them stronger and more healthy. The muesli is provided in spring and summer.

Getting Around

The Kakapo has sharp, powerful claws to help it cling to tree branches and run along the forest floor.

Thousands of years ago, the kakapo probably could use its wings to fly, rather than to help itself land from jumping, but the process of evolution caused it to put on weight, and instead it became a good walker and climber!


The male kakapo makes a loud booming noise, which can travel up to five kilometres when mating, to attract females.

Kakapos breed from the end of August to the beginning of January.

Kakapo males are two timers! Once they have build a nest with their mate and their mate has laid eggs, they walk away and find another mate, leaving the female to do all the work .

Despite all this, the Kakapo doesn't breed every year.


Kakapos have a weird habit when enemies approach, they stand completely still, like a statue, hoping to blend in with their surroundings.

It takes a long time for a Kakapo to get tired, some of the birds can move a couple of kilometres each night. The Kakapo has even been known to go from the shore of a beach all the way up to high mountains with only a few stops every 24 hours.


Kakapos used to live on all three islands, the South Island, the North Island and Stewart Island. But now, all the Kakapo that are left live on Codfish Island so that they can be protected.

The kakapos used to live in lots different climates and places. Some of the places include tussock, scrub lands, places close to the sea and among forests.

The kakapo also lived in forests that had trees such as Rimu, Matai , Kahikatea , Totara, Beeches, Tawa and Rata .

Amelia: "The Kakapo liked to chew on our fingers. It was really weird. It didn't hurt though."

• The Kea and the Kaka are related species to the Kakapo, they are like cousins. The kea and Kaka are also native New Zealand parrots.

• The scientific name for kakapo is Strigops habroptilus which means "owl-faced soft feathers"

Quick Quiz #5 Why does the kakapo have powerful claws?

A. To pick their nose
B. To climb trees
C. To crack nuts

Auckland Point School 2005