I’m guessing this type of behavior is why this breed of bird is so rare:

Thank 3QD for the laugh. 😉


  1. #1 John D Stackpole
    October 3, 2009

    Shouldn’t you have a “NSFW” tag for this one?

  2. #2 Madhu
    October 3, 2009

    I saw this too, via twitter, so the video is going around. I hope the series comes to the US soon. Meanwhile, in writing up my own blog post about this, I stumbled upon a video of a lecture Douglas Adams gave where he talks about his experience writing this book, and shares many wonderful stories about the oddities of animal behavior and evolution. I’ve got it posted over on Reconciliation Ecology should you wish to check it out also! Its an hour (and a bit) well spent with a favorite author.

  3. #3 Noam GR
    October 4, 2009

    aww that is one cute bird! It looks like a little teddy!

    Does it not have any natural predators that it walks around like that? It’s rather strange.

  4. #4 Erin
    October 4, 2009

    I hope this brings more attention to the Kakapo. They have the adorable face to be a popular endangered species and hopefully this will lead to more donations towards conservation efforts. Wishful thinking, but hey if penguins can become so popular, why not kakapos? Many people keep budgies, maybe they’ll relate?

  5. #5 LAJ
    October 4, 2009

    Funny! That has got to be one of the goofiest birds around.

    I loved the book “Last Chance to See”, and would love to see this series as well.

    Thanks, Madhu, for posting that lecture.

  6. #6 JerryNZ
    October 4, 2009

    No they don’t have any natural predators Noam GR. Birds were the dominant species in New Zealand until the Maori arrived around 1100, I think. Since then, around 80% of the native bird life has been wiped out. Very sad. The only native mammal is a Bat and there has been a mouse fossil found I believe. Today, thanks to the human interference, rats, possums, deer, pigs and a whole bunch of other introduced species (including birds) are wiping out New Zealands native bird population. 🙁

  7. #7 Lauren Ipsum
    October 5, 2009

    I seem to remember reading about this when Mr. Fry twittered it originally. I’m fairly sure he’s tucking his iPhone in his pocket about 1:28, right after he says the headline quote. too funny!

  8. #8 ad
    October 6, 2009

    actually, you have it backwards: it displays this behavior BECAUSE it is so rare. Reports exist of a solitary male kakapo going through his booming and bellowing lekking behavior every year, to an utterly empty auditorium of verdant hills. That might drive any bachelor mad.

  9. #9 ad
    October 6, 2009

    Noam: there WERE natural predators, but they were all aerial, and some of them are extinct- like the 10-foot-wingspan Haast’s Eagle, and a giant harrier. I suppose the surviving harrier could pose a threat, but that’s why it is camouflaged green, nocturnal and moves slowly and purposefully.
    What the kakapo has now are unnatural predators, egg and chick marauders like european rats and stoats, which along with feral cats will also attack adults. THat’s why it effectively went extinct on mainland NZ.
    BTW, world’s only flightless parrot!!!

  10. #10 Jessica Palmer
    October 6, 2009

    “Reports exist of a solitary male kakapo going through his booming and bellowing lekking behavior every year, to an utterly empty auditorium.”

    That’s sad. 🙁

  11. #11 Cameron
    October 6, 2009

    JerryNZ (#6)

    The only native mammal is a Bat and there has been a mouse fossil found I believe

    Bats, there are two or maybe three species including a unique family (Mystacinidae). The Miocene mammal fossils do not belong to a mouse, but rather a mouse-size mammal with ghost lineage stretching back to the Mesozoic. Then there are pinnipeds…

  12. #12 BioinfoTools
    October 6, 2009


    I’m not a zoologist, but ‘m skeptical that the Haast’s Eagle or even the harriers preyed on kakapos. Kakapos are forest floor birds. I would have thought eagles & hawks mostly prey animals/birds in more open settings. Just for those outside NZ: NZ forests are (were) very dense, more like a subtropical jungle than most northern hemisphere forests. The idea of an aerial “attack” to the forest floor seems unlikely to me, not that I know much about zoology, it just strikes me as unlikely. If they preyed on birds, I would have picked ratites that live in more open ground, e.g. smaller moa, the predecessors of the weka, etc. as more likely prey.

  13. #13 Rob Jase
    October 7, 2009

    I can understand why full blooded kakapo are rare but there should be thousands of half kakapo cross breeds.

  14. #14 ad
    October 9, 2009

    @12- actually you are probably right, the Haast’s eagle and harriers were diurnal and kakapo is nocturnal. A more likely predator is the now extinct Laughing Owl, which indeed produced owl pellets with kakapo remains. Also speculating that wekas themselves might have preyed on chicks.
    Nonetheless Haast’s Eagle was adapted to working in forests, it had a smaller wingspan proportionally than the soaring sea eagles like the Steller or Golden although still bigger absolute size. Most of New Zealand was forested before humans arrived, cept for alpine areas and perhaps dry areas like Marlborough (?)

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