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The Story of the Kakapo (Heaviest Parrot in the World)

The Kakapo (Maori for Night Parrot) is considered one of the world's largest parrots that measures up to two feet in length and lifts the scale at nine pounds at maturity. Unlike other ground birds, they save their energy by accumulating large amounts of body fat. They can't fly and use short wings mostly for balance. They are endangered species with less than a hundred left. This Kakapo tray is all mossy green.

They have a very strong odor that often brings their predators directly to them, probably one of the reasons they are almost extinct. The other is that they tend to freeze when threatened to make them vulnerable to newer predators to New Zealand depending on their sense of smell in search of food.

They have very strong feet and can cover several kilometers and go up and down 300 meters in their search for food. Their main diet consists of a variety of native plants, seeds and fruits. They have also been known to eat small insects.

They have very strong beetles that they use to help them climb and convert their food into very fine powder. Unlike other birds Kakapo has a very small gizzard so it has to grind its food to easily digest it.

Kakapo are the birds that really want to know and even though they are nighttime and live in remote places they seem to enjoy the convenience of the public. Some of the remaining birds are said to have individual personality and seem to want to interact with humans.

During the breeding season men leave their territory and gather together in a group. They can travel almost 10 Km from home to set up a bridal party. When the breeding season begins, the men will fight each other for the best spot. With strong legs and joints they often have some injuries.

Each court had several holes dug into the ground about ½ meter long and nearly 10 cm deep. Every man tends to be a hole in the ground that keeps him completely clean and clear of any twigs or debris. A bowl like a hole is often dug next to a stone trunk or tree.

The man attracts women by making low boom calls as they sit in their holes. They started with a low voice as the sound grew louder and louder as Kakapo expanded his thorax pouch. They make some booming sounds and then they die. They stood and began the ritual again making a loud noise for about eight o'clock at night. This night's ritual can take place every night for three or four months.

The woman may have come from a few kilometers away, attracted by the boom of male competitors. When the woman arrives the man puts on the display of half-click and body movements where they rock from side to side. The man turned and walked back toward the woman. Little is known about the actual partnership but it is said that once awakening a man Kakapo would indulge in sexual relations with a tree or some other object. They have been known to try to have sex with someone.

After she was married, she returned home to lay her eggs and raise chicks. Men keep trying to attract other women. The woman can hold up to four eggs. She laid her eggs on the ground under the cover of a low plant. She only goes out at night looking for food. Eggs can take a month to hatch and chickens leave the nest at around 12 weeks to breed themselves but mothers may feed them occasionally for up to 6 months.

Kakapo doesn't reproduce every year. Reproduction occurs only when there are many fruits. In the case of some of these areas only every three or four years. Women do not look for men until they are ten years old. Kakapo are believed to have lived for at least 60 years or more.



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