10 untold facts about kakapo, the heaviest parrots on Earth
The only flightless parrots in the world, these adorable birds from New Zealand surprise with their appearance, size and behavior. Let's learn more about them!
Ready for a Kakapo-ic session? Let's get right into it!
#1 Kakapo are flightless parrots
Although these birds are the world's only parrots unable to fly around, they've got pretty strong legs to make up for it.
In fact, their legs are so strong kakapo are popularly known as fantastic hikers! Their wings serve other purposes such as balance and also to parachute off tree branches.
#2 They're only rarely seen in New Zealand
We know what you're thinking, didn't we mention earlier that they're primarily located in New Zealand, right? Well, that leads us to this point exactly.
Actually, official reports in 2018 revealed that only 147 kakapo existed worldwide. These birds are known to be among the threatened animal species on Earth and you should consider yourself lucky if you ever come across one of them.
#3 They have a lifespan of 90 years
Another interesting thing about kakapo are their lengthy years on Earth. If we ever had to learn something from them as humans it'll be to know the secret to their long lives. These birds seem to have all the time in the world as they develop and reproduce.
#4 Kakapo have a striking resemblance to owls
Think you saw an owl the first time you saw a kakapo? Look again! While these parrots have a funny way of making us think they're owls with very similar physical appearance as well as their nocturnal natures, they actually have nothing in common with these birds.
#5 Kakapo have a stronger olfactory sense than us
A publication released by Cornell University revealed that kakapo are among the top "smellers" on Earth, with a sense of smell which is over one and half times stronger than that of humans. They have 667 functional olfactory receptors compared to 400 in humans.
#6 They've always lived without fear of predators
Ever since they've existed, kakapo have never had to fear wild predators. These birds roamed freely on land in remote forests without any reason to defend themselves from larger creatures. It's no wonder they live for so long.
#7 It's fight-or-freeze for them
Know how we respond to sudden anxiety through the fight-or-flight system as humans? For kakapo, they only stop and freeze whenever there's a potential threat in their surroundings.
They can't actually fight and so they just stop dead in their tracks and allow their perfectly camouflaged feathers do the rest of the work for them.
#8 There's a name for every single kakapo to ever live
It's not only humans who get to have cool names. Since there aren't so many of these birds, it's pretty easy to know their names if you truly love them.
One of them named Maggie was found in 1980 and lived until 2014 when she passed away due to a landslide.
#9 Present-day kakapo are kept in predator-free islands
In a bid to preserve this beautiful yet endangered species, Codfish and Anchor islands are the safest places where they're currently being kept. These birds are always monitored to ensure that no harm comes their way.
#10 They are the heaviest living species of parrot
Adult kakapo measure from 58 to 64 cm (23 to 25 in) in length and weigh from 0.95 to 4 kg (2 to 9 lb).
Would you love to see one of these amazing birds? Let us know what you think and why in the comment section below.
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