Lily Harrison and I met at a graduation party when we were eighteen. As soon as I walked into the house, her bubbling laughter caught my attention. I couldn’t help but grin because it was so contagious, and she’d noticed. Already a couple drinks in, she pointed right at me and shouted, “Hey. You’re cute. Come be my partner.”
Status: Critically Endangered; there are 153 as of 2016
Names: Night parrot, owl parrot, tarapo, tarepo
(wild): 23 – 25 in, 58 – 64 cm
(wild): 2 – 9 lb, 0.95 – 4 kg
58 years, but have potential to live into their 90s. Their exact
lifespan is unknown. Researchers in the recovery program will know
when the kakapo hatched in the recovery effort die of old age, which
could be decades from now.
(Above: Historic range; Below: Current range)
Used to live from the far north of the North Island to the south of
the South Island. Now they are only found on offshore islands that
are protected areas without introduced predators. It is not believed
that there are any left on the main land of New Zealand, when the
recovery program began they were all captured from the Fiordland
National Park and brought to protected zones. They currently live on
Codfish Island (Whenua Hau), Little Barrier Island (Hauturu ao Toi),
and Anchor Island.
Formally from sea level to near tops of mountains. They are ground
dwellers who live in forest substrate and scrubland.
They are solitary, gathering only to breed
They do not breed every year, as they will only breed when there is
enough rimu fruit.
starts around December and lasts until April
They engage in
“lek” breeding, which is when the males compete for female
attention. They are the only parrot species and New Zealand bird
species to do this.
inflates like a balloon, and then emits a low boom which can be
heard from up to 5 km away. This lets any females in the area know
that he is ready to mate
After 20 -30
booms, the male emits a high-pitched ‘ching’, which pinpoints his
position, allowing females to find him
and chinging can last for 8 hours nonstop every night for 2-3 months
during breeding season
(Above: Booming Sketch)
female lays 1-4 eggs. They are similar in size to chicken eggs and
will hatch after 30 days. The female raises them by herself, and has
to leave the nest at night to search for food. After 10 weeks, the
fledglings leave the nest, but may still be fed by their mother for
up to 6 months.
The berries of the Rimu plant (see picture) are their favorite food.
They also eat parts of other native plants, including the fruits,
seeds, bark, bulbs, leaves, stems, mosses, ferns, fungi, and roots.
Species include pink pine, stinkwood, Hall’s totara, and mountain
flax. When food species that are important to their diet become
abundant, they feed exclusively on it.
are also fed pellets, freeze-dried and frozen fruit, walnuts, and
pine conelets by the recovery effort.
Dimorphic: Yes, the males are larger
(wild): The upper side of their body is green with random black,
brown, and yellow barring and mottling. Their underparts are a
yellow-green and have irregular yellow and brown barring. The face is
yellow-brown and the beak is grey and smaller in females. The primary
wing feathers are tipped with yellow in males and green and brown in
females. The tail is green and brown with yellow and black barring
They are nocturnal and solitary and roost on the ground or in trees
during the day. When disturbed, they freeze, trying to blend in with
Concerns: They are not equipped
to deal with human intrusion and introduced predators, which caused
their numbers to decline rapidly. By 1970, there were only 18 males
left in Fiordland. In 1977, a small population of both males and
females were found.
Recently there has been an increase in cases of “crusty butt”,
which is a viral infection that causes the cloaca to become inflamed,
and presents like severe dermatitis.
It is still unknown what is
causing the virus and if it is infectious. There has been one death
due to this infection, and treatment, a topical cream, seems to only
help some individuals.
As of now, it is only found on Codfish Island,
and has been since 2002.
It is being taken very seriously and is
being closely monitored, with research being done to learn more about
Captivity: Some young chicks are raised in captivity as part of a
Conservation attempt to save the species. Conservation and recovery
of this species has been going one since 1977, when a population of
both females and males were found on Stewart Island.
They are the largest parrot species in the world (by weight) and
possibly the oldest living bird!
Sirocco, a male
kakapo born March 23, 1997, was raised in captivity due to a illness
that required he be hand raised and quarantined from other kakapo. He
now thinks he’s human and is a conservation ambassador for the kakapo.
proved that kakapo can swim, after deciding to join one of the
rangers’ family who were swimming in the ocean. He jumped off the jetty and paddled around for a bit before going back to shore, completely nonchalant.
He is also the kakapo who made
his species famous after “shagging” Mark Cawardine on the BBC
series “Last Chance to See”.
Summary: The first words you’ll hear your soulmate say are tattooed onto your skin from birth. You hear the words, but in the worst possible situation - he’s in love with your close friend. Scenario: Soulmate AU, angst, fluff Word Count: 5,746