The kākāpō is one of the rarest parrots in the world, with only 153 individuals remaining. It is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN and Nationally Critical on the New Zealand Threat Classification System.
The kākāpō is a unique bird:
- It’s flightless
- It’s noctural
- It’s the world’s heaviest parrot
- It’s possibly the oldest living bird
- It has a low-frequency mating ‘boom’ that can travel several kilometres
- It has a sweet scent, a little like honey
The kākāpō is endemic to New Zealand and every year many people from around the world – including dozens of hard working volunteers – give their time and energy trying to save the kākāpō from the brink of extinction.
Listen to the kākāpō skraark
Listen to the kākāpō boom
Listen to the kākāpō ching
Kākāpō used to be one of the most common birds in New Zealand, found across almost the entire country. Hunting, habitat loss and the introduction of mammalian predators lead to a severe decline in the population. By 1995 there were only 51 kākāpō known to survive.
The Kākāpō Recovery Programme has since been working to protect and grow this population. All kākāpō are now intensively managed on offshore, predator-free islands.
- General Reading
- Historic Accounts
- Scientific Publications
- Kākāpō infographic
- A history of Kākāpō