Kakapo Fact Sheet

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Strigops habroptilus

Wild Status:

Critically Endangered


Tussockslands, scrublands, and Coastal Scrubland


New Zealand


Nest and roost at the bottom of trees

Life Span:

95 years



Cool Facts:

  • Heaviest of all parrots
  • Endemic to New Zealand
  • Known to play fight with other Kakapo
  • Smell Good
  • Lek Style Breeding system
  • Known to freeze when scared
  • Flightless
  • Nocturnal
  • Very long lived- close to 95 years
  • Kakapo love fruit from the Rimu Tree
  • Before recovery efforts the population reached 49 individuals


The Kakapo is one of the most interesting birds on the planet.   They are nocturnal, flightless, ground- dwelling, parrots and they are only found on little islands in the country of New Zealand.  Kakapo are known to have a  distinct smell which is described as a sweet yet musky and it is believed that this smell helps them with finding each other in the forest and keeping their nests clean.  Kakapo are really big compared to the rest of the parrot world and weigh more then the largest flying parrots and macaws.  They are known to have the smallest wingspan of any parrot. Although the Kakapo cannot fly, they are incredibly good at climbing and have been seen climbing to the top of incredibly tall trees.  Parachute jumping is a normal method of getting out of tall trees, which entails jumping from the tree and opening their wings to gracefully plummet to the floor. Luckily their wings are big enough to give them a chance to glide down at a slight angle so they don't dive bomb to the floor. Kakapo are strictly herbivores and because they are not constantly exercising (flying) they have a much lower quality diet requirements.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom:  Animalia Phyllum:  Chordata Class:  Aves Family:  Strigopidae Order: Psittaciformes Genus:  Strigops Species:  S. habroptilus

Conservation & Helping:

The Kakapo is a critically endangered in the wild and has become a conservation story for the ages.  Practically completely wiped out by invasive predators like rats, cats, ferrets and stoats which were introduced by humans during a time the land was being colonized.   The flightless bird was knocked down to under 50 individuals and New Zealand went in to action creating conservation programs to help build back the species populations, including tagged, regularly monitoring individuals and monitoring nests. New Zealand conservationists and biologists worked hard to remove all the predators from multiples islands to allow the Kakapo a chance to make a comeback.   The Kakapo is not there, but it is making turn for the better.  There is now around 213 identified species and more information on Kakapo then ever before.  Check out our Kakapo blog to learn more about these interesting species.

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