Life cycle

Life Cycle of the Kākāpō

A lot of things about the kākāpō are still unknown, especially how long they live for. Here’s what we do know:


Kākāpō live life in the slow lane. They do everything more slowly than most birds, and live, on average, for 58 years and potentially to almost 90!


None of the kākāpō whose ages we do know have yet died of old age, even though most were discovered 15-30 years ago. In fact, it may not be known how long kākāpō live until some of the birds hatched during the Kākāpō Recovery programme die of old age. That might be several decades away.


Everything in the kākāpō’s life-style happens slowly. Males do not start breeding until they are about four years old, while females do not start until they are at least five years old. Even then, breeding does not take place every year.


Rather, it seems to be dependent on the availability of key food supplies, such as the fruiting of rimu trees, and will happen, on average, only every two to four years.


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