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Kakapo Parrot Lesson for Kids: Facts & Life Cycle

Instructor: Michelle Jones

Michelle has taught at the elementary level and has earned a master's degree.

The kakapo is a type of parrot, but you won't see it on the shoulder of a pirate because it's too big! Read this lesson to learn more interesting facts about this rare bird.

The Kakapo

What do penguins, chickens, and ostriches have in common? They're all birds that can't fly well, just like the kakapo parrot, a large, flightless bird native to New Zealand. The kakapo lives on the forested islands of New Zealand.

Hundreds of years ago, there were no predators for kakapos to fly away from, so there was no need for them to waste that energy. However, when humans moved to the island, they brought small mammals such as dogs, cats, rats, and possums, which, along with humans, hunted the kakapo. Since then, the number of kakapo parrots has drastically gone down so much that they are now endangered, or at risk of extinction.

The kakapo is the largest type of parrot.
picture of kakapo parrot

Characteristics

As the largest type of parrot, the kakapo can grow to about two feet long and an adult weighs about seven pounds. That's almost as heavy as a gallon of milk!

The soft feathers of the kakapo are a greenish-yellow with some brown spots. This provides excellent camouflage on the forest floor. Many people describe the face of the kakapo as owl-like because of their large round eyes and long beak.

Although they do not fly, they have strong legs that help them climb trees, especially to get food. Kakapo parrots are plant-eating herbivores that like to eat nuts, fruits, flowers, and roots. To get back down to the ground, they use their small but useful wings to help them glide down safely.

The kakapo is also the only nocturnal parrot, which means they rest during the day; they move around and eat at night. Another unique feature of these birds is that they the only type of parrot that likes to live alone.

A kakapo bird eating poroporo fruit.
picture of kakapo bird eating fruit

Life Cycle

At about six to eight years old, the kakapo reaches breeding age and lays one to four eggs in a shallow hole in the ground. After 30 days, the eggs will hatch. The mother bird takes care of her baby birds for three to six months before they leave the nest.

Yet another interesting fact about the kakapo parrot is that they are one of the longest-living birds, with a life span of around 60 years, with some living even longer!

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