Scientists Say: Kakapo
This endangered parrot is a ground dweller that can climb trees
Kakapo (noun, “KAHK-ah-po”)
This is a species of parrot that lives in New Zealand. It is the world’s only flightless parrot. The birds are also the heaviest of all parrots. The males weigh up to four kilograms (8.8 pounds) and the females up to 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs). Like many parrots, kakapos are long-lived, with lifespans reaching more than 50 years old. During those long lives, the birds dwell on the ground, climbing into trees only to get fruit and seeds.
The kakapo is an important bird to New Zealand’s native Māori people. In the past, they ate it and used its feathers for clothing. But when Western people arrived in New Zealand, they brought cats, ferrets and other predators with them. They also cleared land for farms, which meant the kakapo had fewer places to live. The bird’s numbers have been dwindling for a long time. As of 2017, there were only 154 kakapos left. Those birds have been moved to three islands where no predators can get to them.
In a sentence
To find out more about the kakapo, scientists have studied ancient fossilized kakapo poop.
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