Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Zealand - Kakapo

Sirocco is a rare kakapo parrot. His cheeky antics have made him world famous, but he channels his celebrity for good - as ambassador for his species and New Zealand's Spokebird for Conservation.

Sent by Aunty Seahorse from Paraparaumu, New Zealand.

The Kakapo (Māorikākāpōnight parrot), Strigops habroptilus (Gray, 1845), also called owl parrot, is a species of large, flightlessnocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot of the super-family Strigopoidea endemic to New Zealand.  It has finely blotched yellow-green plumage, a distinct facial disc of sensory, vibrissa-like feathers, a large grey beak, short legs, large feet, and wings and a tail of relatively short length. A certain combination of traits makes it unique among its kind; it is the world's only flightless parrot, the heaviest parrot, nocturnal, herbivorous, visibly sexually dimorphic in body size, has a low basal metabolic rate, no male parental care, and is the only parrot to have a polygynous lek breeding system. It is also possibly one of the world's longest-living birds.  Its anatomy typifies the tendency of bird evolution on oceanic islands, with few predators and abundant food: a generally robust physique, with accretion of thermodynamic efficiency at the expense of flight abilities, reduced wing muscles, and a diminished keel on the sternum.  Like many other New Zealand bird species, the Kakapo was historically important to the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, appearing in many of their traditional legends and folklore. It was hunted and used as a resource by Māori, both for its meat as a food source and for its feathers, which were used to make highly valued pieces of clothing. It was also sometimes kept as a pet. (read further)

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