New Zealand is a country with a unique wildlife. Due to the closed nature of the island, rare species of animals have survived here - echidnas, platypuses, capybaras, Tasmanian devils. What is the local kiwi bird alone worth, which is a kind of New Zealand symbol. But besides her, New Zealand is known for another flightless inhabitant with the funny name of kakapo, or owl parrot.
This bird is actually on the verge of extinction these days. But at the same time, it is completely harmless, despite its rather big size. An owl parrot can reach a weight of 2-4 kilograms, and its body length is about 60 centimeters. Unlike his relatives, he completely lost the ability to fly. The most a kakapo can do is climb a tree branch and glide down from there. But the length of his "flight" can reach 50 meters. For this reason, his skeleton is very different from that which other representatives of parrots have - he hasunderdeveloped wings and low keel. But the bird has a wide pelvis.
Among relatives, the owl parrot is a long-liver, it can easily overcome the 95-year barrier. In addition, this is the only parrot that is nocturnal. During the day, kakapo sleep on peculiar perches under the trees, and at night they begin to walk around their territory.
Another feature that the New Zealand Owl Parrot has is its smell. It is very pleasant and similar to the aromas of honey, flowers and beeswax. With the help of the smell, kakapo warns relatives of its presence. For this reason, these parrots are sometimes referred to as "natural flavors".
Why an owl parrot? The reason for this name is simple. Only this parrot has a sensitive facial disc, similar to an owl's "face". In general, kakapo look like a funny cross between a parrot and an owl. Their plumage is a variegated yellowish-green hue, covered with dark black and brown stripes. The feathers on their facial disc resemble cat vibrissae and perform the same locational function - the kakapo navigates in space using them. In addition, they are distinguished by a large beak and short legs with disproportionately large feet. The beak of these parrots is designed to grind food, and the kakapo feeds mainly on grass and fruits. Their diet changes, depending on the season, the owl parrot chooses certain fruits and seeds.
What is the reason for his disappearance? Why is such a calm and cute birdon the brink of extinction? It turned out that people are to blame. Before the appearance of natives from the mainland in New Zealand, kakapo replaced bats that were practically absent there in the local ecosystem. But the Europeans who sailed on their ships brought cats and rats to the island. Small predators quickly found easy prey in the face of kakapo, because before owl parrots did not encounter such enemies. In addition, their population began to decline also due to the fact that rats have learned to destroy their nests located on the ground, destroy eggs and chicks. Now kakapos are preserved only in the southwest of the South Island, and their population is hardly more than 100 individuals. But these birds, by their ability to become attached to a person, to express their love, are able to compete with dogs and cats. Such parrots can be kept at home, they need a large cage. In addition, periodically the bird needs to be released so that it can fly.