Kākāpō Behaviour

Since it’s such a unique parrot, it goes without saying that, the kākāpō doesn’t act like any other! Learn about how it behaves.


Alone in the night

The kākāpō is best described as a midnight rambler, spending most of its life sleeping during the day and wandering alone through the forest at night.

Kākāpō are solitary creatures. They gather only to breed, and the females are left to raise their chicks alone. Typically, each bird keeps to itself during the day, tucked up in a roost on the ground or in a tree, and venturing out at night to feed.


The kākāpō ‘skraark’

Kākāpō do give themselves away by their calls, however. This includes, most commonly, a loud screeching or “skraark”.

Listen to the kākāpō skraark


Keeping still

Another peculiar habit of the kākāpō is to freeze when disturbed, keeping absolutely still and hoping to blend into the background. Most animals have evolved more useful forms of defence, such as taking flight; but the kākāpō obviously did not need this behaviour in the days when New Zealand’s only predators were avian, such as Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei).


Kākāpō personality

But when it comes to behaviour, not all kākāpō are the same. Staff get to know some birds well, such as the young chicks raised in captivity, and find that each has its own personality. Some are friendly, others are grumpy, several are big eaters.


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