Story: Land birds – overview


New Zealand’s most unusual parrot is the nocturnal, flightless, vegetarian kākāpō. It is the heaviest parrot in the world. Males weigh 2 kilograms on average, but can reach 4 kilos. Females average 1.5 kilos. This male is feeding on the berries of a low-growing poroporo bush. But kākāpō sometimes feed in treetops as high as 30 metres up. They clamber and pull themselves up on branches with their strong beaks. Their short wings are used for balance, and to parachute down several metres between levels.

Listen to several male kākāpō calling to females.

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Department of Conservation
Reference: 10047128
Photograph by Don Merton

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Sound file from Birds of New Zealand. Compact disc. © Viking Sevenseas NZ, 1980 (available from PO Box 152, Paraparaumu). All rights reserved.

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How to cite this page:

Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 'Land birds – overview - Weird and wonderful birds', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 July 2024)

Story by Kerry-Jayne Wilson, published 24 Sep 2007, reviewed & revised 20 Apr 2015