Feeding

Kākāpō Diet

What do kākāpō like to eat? Find out about their special diet.

 

Kākāpō favourite foods

 

Rimu berriesRimu fruit

The traditional diet of kākāpō is strictly herbivorous, comes from a variety of native plants and includes:

  • the fruits
  • seeds
  • bark
  • bulbs
  • leaves
  • stems and
  • roots

When key food species are abundant, such as the fruit of rimu trees, the kākāpō will feed almost exclusively on their fruit.

Supplements

These days, the kākāpō diet is boosted with a special pellet, which is part of a Supplementary Feeding Programme provided to keep the birds in good reproductive condition, and help produce more eggs in breeding season. During breeding, the pellets will also help mothers raise their chicks if rimu fruit is in short supply.

 

How kākāpō eat

One of the most distinctive signs of kākāpō feeding are small crescent-shaped ‘chews’, often still attached to a plant. Like rabbits, kākāpō often browse tough foliage by passing it through their bill from bottom to top, using their feet to pull it through. This process sucks all the nutrients out of the foliage, leaving a little ball of fibrous material hanging off the plant.

This fibre bleaches in the sun and is very distinctive kākāpō ‘sign’.

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