The Kakapo (Māori: kākāpō, meaning night parrot), Strigops habroptila (Gray, 1845), also called owl parrot, is a species of flightless nocturnal parrot 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: accretion of thermodynamic efficiency at the expense of flight abilities, reduced wing muscles, a diminished keel on the sternum, and a generally robust physique.
Kakapo are critically endangered; as of February 2010, only మూస:Number of Living Kakapo living individuals are known, most of which have been given names. The common ancestor of the Kakapo and the genus Nestor became isolated from the remaining parrot species when New Zealand broke off from Gondwana, around 82 million years ago. Around 70 million years ago, the kakapo diverged from the genus Nestor. In the absence of mammalian predators, it lost the ability to fly. Because of Polynesian and European colonisation and the introduction of predators such as cats, rats, and stoats, most of the Kakapo were wiped out. Conservation efforts began in the 1890s, but they were not very successful until the implementation of the Kakapo Recovery Plan in the 1980s. As of January 2009, surviving Kakapo are kept on two predator-free islands, Codfish (Whenua Hou) and Anchor islands, where they are closely monitored. Two large Fiordland islands, Resolution and Secretary, have been the subject of large-scale ecological restoration activities to prepare self-sustaining ecosystems with suitable habitat for the Kakapo.
The conservation of the Kakapo has made the species well known. Many books and documentaries detailing the plight of the Kakapo have been produced in recent years, one of the earliest being Two in the Bush, made by Gerald Durrell for the BBC in 1962. Two of the most significant documentaries, both made by NHNZ, are Kakapo - Night Parrot (1982) and To Save the Kakapo (1997). The BBC's Natural History Unit also featured the Kakapo, including a sequence with Sir David Attenborough in The Life of Birds. It was also one of the endangered animals that Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine set out to find for the radio series and book Last Chance to See. An updated version of the series has been produced for BBC TV, in which Stephen Fry and Carwardine revisit the animals featured to see how they are getting on almost 20 years later, and in January 2009, they spent time filming on Codfish Island to see the Kakapo.
The Kakapo, like many other New Zealand bird species, has historically been important to the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, appearing in many of their traditional legends and folklore. They were also hunted and utilised as a resource both for their meat and for their feathers which were used for making clothing.
Taxonomy and naming [మార్చు]
The Kakapo was originally described by English ornithologist George Robert Gray in 1845. Its generic name is derived from the Ancient Greek strix, genitive strigos "owl", and ops "face", while its specific epithet comes from habros "soft", and ptilon "feather". It has so many unusual features that it was initially placed in its own tribe, Strigopini. Recent phylogenetic studies have confirmed the unique position of this genus as well as the closeness to the Kākā and the Kea, both belonging to the New Zealand parrot genus Nestor. Together, they are now considered a separate family within the parrots, Strigopidae. Within the Strigopidae, the Kakapo is placed in its own tribe, Strigopini. Earlier ornithologists felt that the Kakapo may be related to the Ground Parrot and Night Parrot of Australia but this is contradicted by recent studies.
Kakapo are large, rotund parrots; males measure up to 60 centimetres (24 in) and weigh between 2 and 4 kilograms (4.5–9 lb) at maturity. Kakapo are unable to fly, having short wings for their size and lacking the pronounced keel bone (sternum) that anchors the flight muscles of other birds. They use their wings for balance, support, and to break their falls when leaping from trees. Unlike other land birds, Kakapo can accumulate large amounts of body fat to store energy making them the heaviest parrot.
The upper parts of the Kakapo have yellowish moss-green feathers barred or mottled with black or dark brownish grey, blending well with native vegetation. Individuals may have strongly varying degrees of mottling and colour tone and intensity — museum specimens have shown that some birds had completely yellow colouring. The breast and flanks are yellowish-green streaked with yellow. Their bellies, undertail, necks and faces are predominantly yellowish, streaked with pale green and weakly mottled with brownish-grey. Because the feathers do not need the strength and stiffness required for flight, they are exceptionally soft, giving rise to the specific epithet habroptilus. Kakapo have a conspicuous facial disc of fine feathers, resembling the face of an owl; thus, early European settlers called it the "owl parrot". Their beaks are surrounded by delicate vibrissae or "whiskers", which they use to sense the ground for navigation as they walk with their heads lowered. The mandible is mostly ivory-colored, with part of the upper mandible being bluish-grey. The eyes are dark brown. Kakapo feet are large, scaly, and, as in all parrots, zygodactyl (two toes face forward and two backward). They have pronounced claws particularly useful for climbing. The ends of their tail feathers often become worn from being continually dragged on the ground.
Females are easily distinguished from males due to some notable differences: they have a more narrow and less domed head, their beaks are narrower and proportionally longer, their ceres and nostrils smaller, their legs and feet more slender and pinkish grey, and their tails are proportionally longer. While their plumage color is not very different to that of males, the toning is more subtle, with less yellow and mottling. They tend to be more resistant and aggressive than males when handled. Nesting females are also distinguished by a brood patch on the bare skin of the belly.
Like many parrots, Kakapo have a variety of calls. In addition to the booms (see below for a recording) and chings of their mating calls, they often skraark to announce their location to other birds.
Kakapo have a well-developed sense of smell, which complements their nocturnal lifestyle. They can discriminate among odours while foraging; a behaviour reported for only one other parrot species. One of the most striking characteristics of Kakapo is their pleasant and powerful odour, which has been described as musty. Given the Kakapo's well-developed sense of smell, this scent may be a social chemosignal. The smell often alerts predators to the largely defenseless Kakapo.
The skeleton of the Kakapo differs from other parrots in several features that are associated with its flightlessness. Firstly, it has the smallest wing size of any parrot. Its wing feathers are shorter, more rounded, less asymmetrical, and have fewer distal barbules to lock the feathers together. The sternum is small, and has a low, vestigial, keel, and a shortened spina externa. As in other flightless birds and some other flighted parrots, the furcula is not fused, instead being a pair of clavicles lying in contact with each coracoid. As in other flightless birds, the angle between the coracoid and sternum is enlarged. The Kakapo has a larger pelvis than other parrots. The proximal bones of the leg and arm are disproportionately long and the distal elements are disproportionately short.
The pectoral musculature of the Kakapo is also modified by flightlessness. The pectoralis and supracoracoideus muscles are greatly reduced. The propatagialis tendo longus has no distinct muscle belly. The sternocoracoideus is tendinous. There is an extensive cucularis capitis clavicularis muscle that is associated with the large crop.
Ecology and behaviour [మార్చు]
It seems that the Kakapo — like many of New Zealand's bird species — has evolved to occupy an ecological niche normally filled by various species of mammal (the only mammals native to New Zealand are three species of small bats). Before the arrival of humans, Kakapo were largely distributed throughout the three main islands of New Zealand. They lived in a variety of habitats, including tussocklands, scrublands and coastal areas. They also inhabited forests, including those dominated by podocarps (rimu, matai, kahikatea, totara), beeches, tawa, and rata. In Fiordland, areas of avalanche and slip debris with regenerating and heavily fruiting vegetation — such as five finger, wineberry, bush lawyer, tutu, hebes, and coprosmas — became known as "Kakapo gardens".
Kakapo are primarily nocturnal; they roost under cover in trees or on the ground during the day and rove their territories at night.
Though the Kakapo cannot fly, they are excellent climbers, ascending to the crowns of the tallest trees. They can also "parachute" - descending by leaping and spreading their wings. In this way they may travel a few meters at an angle of less than 45 degrees.
Having lost the ability to fly, they have developed strong legs. Movement is often by way of a rapid "jog-like" gait by which they can move many kilometres. Females make two return trips each night during nesting from their nest to the food source up to 1 km (0.6 miles) away and males walk from their home ranges to the mating arena up to 5 km (3 miles) away during the mating season (October–January).
Young birds indulge in play fighting and one bird will often lock the neck of another under its chin. Kakapo are a curious species and have been known to interact with humans. Conservation staff and volunteers have engaged extensively with some Kakapo, and they are known to have distinct personalities.
The Kakapo were a very successful species in pre-human New Zealand and one of the reasons for this was their set of adaptations to effectively avoid predation from native birds of prey, which were their only predators in the past. However, these same behaviours have been of no use to them when faced with the mammalian predators which have been introduced to New Zealand following human settlement, as these hunt in different ways. As hunters, birds behave very differently to mammals, relying on their powerful vision to find prey and thus, they usually, (with the exception of Owls) hunt by day. Apart from the two surviving New Zealand raptors, the New Zealand Falcon and Australasian Harrier, there were two additional birds of prey in New Zealand in pre-human times; Haast's Eagle and Eyles' Harrier. All four species soared overhead searching for prey in daylight and to avoid these avian predators, the kakapo's ancestors adopted camouflaged plumage and became nocturnal. In addition, when Kakapo feel threatened, they freeze, so that they are more effectively camouflaged in the forest vegetation which their plumage resembles. It was not entirely safe at night however as the Laughing Owl was active at this time and it is apparent from their nest deposits on Canterbury limestone cliffs that Kakapo were among their prey.
Mammalian predators, in contrast to birds, rely on their sense of smell and hearing to find prey and often hunt by night. The Kakapo's adaptations to avoid avian predation have thus been quite useless against their new enemies - this is one of the reasons for their massive decline since the introduction of dogs, cats and mustelids following human settlement - see Conservation: Human impact. A typical way for humans to hunt down Kakapo is by releasing trained dogs.
The beak of the Kakapo is specially adapted for grinding food finely. For this reason, Kakapo have very small gizzards compared to other birds of their size. They are generally herbivorous, eating native plants, seeds, fruits, pollens and even the sapwood of trees. A study in 1984 identified 25 plant species as Kakapo food. They are particularly fond of the fruit of the rimu tree, and will feed on it exclusively during seasons when it is abundant. Kakapo have a distinctive habit of grabbing a leaf or frond with a foot and stripping the nutritious parts of the plant out with their beaks, leaving a ball of indigestible fiber. These little clumps of plant fibers are a distinctive sign of the presence of Kakapo. Kakapos are believed to employ bacteria in the foregut to ferment and help digest plant matter.
Kakapo diet changes seasonally. The plants eaten most frequently during the year include some species of Lycopodium ramulosum, Lycopodium fastigium, Schizaea fistulosa, Blechnum minus, Blechnum procerum, Cyathodes juniperina, Dracophyllum longifolium, Olearia colensoi and Thelymitra venosa. Individual plants of the same species are often treated differently. Kakapo leave conspicuous evidence of their feeding activities, from 10×10 m to 50×100 m feeding ground areas. Manuka and yellow silver pine scrubs are obvious signs of their center of feeding activities.
The Kakapo is the only species of flightless parrot in the world, and the only flightless bird that has a lek breeding system. Males loosely gather in an arena and compete with each other to attract females. Females listen to the males display, or "lek". They choose a mate based on the quality of his display; they are not pursued by the males in any overt way. No pair bond is formed; males and females meet only to mate.
During the courting season, males leave their home ranges for hilltops and ridges where they establish their own mating courts. These leks can be up to 7 kilometres (4 mi) from a Kakapo's usual territory and are an average of 50 metres (160 ft) apart within the lek arena. Males remain in the region of their court throughout the courting season. At the start of the breeding season, males will fight to try to secure the best courts. They confront each other with raised feathers, spread wings, open beaks, raised claws and loud screeching and growling. Fighting may leave birds with injuries or even kill them.
Each court consists of one or more saucer-shaped depressions or "bowls" dug in the ground by the male, up to 10 centimetres (4 in) deep and long enough to fit the half-metre length of the bird. Kakapo are one of only a handful of birds in the world which actually construct their leks. Bowls are often created next to rock faces, banks, or tree trunks to help reflect sound - the bowls themselves function as amplifiers to enhance the projection of the males booming mating calls. Each male’s bowls are connected by a network of trails or tracks which may extend 50 metres (160 ft) along a ridge or 20 metres (60 ft) in diameter around a hilltop. Males meticulously clear their bowls and tracks of debris. One way researchers check whether bowls are visited at night is to place a few twigs in the bowl; if the male visits overnight, he will pick them up in his beak and toss them away.
To attract females, males make loud, low-frequency (below 100 Hz) booming calls from their bowls by inflating a thoracic sac. They start with low grunts, which increase in volume as the sac inflates. After a sequence of about 20 loud booms, the male Kakapo emits a high frequency, metallic "ching" sound. He stands for a short while before again lowering his head, inflating his chest and starting another sequence of booms. The booms can be heard at least one kilometre (0.6 mi) away on a still night; wind can carry the sound at least five kilometres (3 mi). Males boom for an average of eight hours a night; each male may produce thousands of booms in this time. This may continue every night for three or four months during which time the male may lose half his body weight. Each male moves around the bowls in his court so that the booms are sent out in different directions. These booms are also notorious for attracting predators, due to the long range at which they can be heard.
Females are attracted by the booms of the competing males; they too may need to walk several kilometres from their territories to the arena. Once a female enters the court of one of the males, the male performs a display in which he rocks from side to side and makes clicking noises with his beak. He turns his back to the female, spreads his wings in display and walks backwards towards her. The duration of attempted copulation is between 2 to 14 minutes. Once the birds have mated, the female returns to her home territory to lay eggs and raise the chicks. The male continues booming in the hope of attracting another female.
Female Kakapo lay up to three eggs per breeding cycle. They nest on the ground under the cover of plants or in cavities such as hollow tree trunks. They incubate the eggs faithfully, but are forced to leave them every night in search of food. Predators are known to eat the eggs and the embryos inside can also die of cold in the mother's absence. Kakapo eggs usually hatch within 30 days, bearing fluffy gray chicks that are quite helpless. After the eggs hatch, the female feeds the chicks for three months, and the chicks continue to remain with the female for some months after fledging. The young chicks are just as vulnerable to predators as the eggs, and young have been killed by many of the same predators that attack adults. Chicks leave the nest at approximately 10 to 12 weeks of age. As they gain greater independence, their mothers may feed the chicks sporadically for up to 6 months.
Because Kakapo are quite long-lived, with an average life expectancy of 95 years and the maximum at about 120 years, they tend to have an adolescence before beginning breeding. Males do not start to boom until about 5 years of age. It was previously thought that female Kakapo reached sexual maturity at 9 years of age; however, this idea was debunked in the 2008 breeding season when two 6 year old females named Apirama and Rakiura laid eggs. Generally females do not seek out males until they are between 9 and 11 years old. Kakapo do not breed every year and have one of the lowest rates of reproduction among birds. Breeding occurs only in years when trees mast (fruit heavily), providing a plentiful food supply. Rimu mast occurs only every three to five years, so in rimu-dominant forests such as those on Codfish Island, Kakapo breeding occurs as infrequently.
Another interesting aspect of the Kakapo's breeding system is that the females can alter the sex ratio of their offspring in relation to maternal condition. Females that eat protein-rich foods produce more male-biased offspring (males have 30–40% more body weight than females). Females produce offspring biased toward the dispersive sex when competition for resources (such as food) is high and toward the non-dispersive sex when food is plentiful; a female Kakapo will likely be able to produce eggs even when there are few resources, while a male Kakapo will be more capable of perpetuating the species when there are plenty, by mating with several females. This is in support of the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. The relationship between clutch sex ratio and maternal diet has conservation implications, as a captive population maintained on a high quality diet will produce fewer females and therefore fewer individuals valuable to recovery of the species.
The fossil record indicates that in pre-Polynesian times, the Kakapo was New Zealand's third most common bird and it was widespread on all 3 main islands. However, the population of Kakapo in New Zealand has declined massively since human settlement of the country. Since 1891, conservation efforts have been made to prevent extinction. The most successful scheme has been the Kakapo Recovery Plan; this was implemented in 1989 and is still ongoing.
Human impact [మార్చు]
The first factor in the decline of the Kakapo was the arrival of humans. According to Māori folklore, Kakapo were found throughout the country when the Polynesians first arrived in Aotearoa 1,000 years ago; subfossil and midden deposits show that they were present throughout the North Island, South Island and Stewart island before and during early Māori times. Māori settlers from Polynesia hunted the Kakapo for food and for their skins and feathers, which were made into luxurious capes. They used the dried heads as ear ornaments. Due to its flightlessness, strong scent and habit of freezing when threatened, the Kakapo were easy prey for the Māori and their dogs. Their eggs and chicks were also predated by the Polynesian Rat or kiore, which the Māori brought to New Zealand. Furthermore, the deliberate clearing of vegetation by Māori reduced the habitable range for Kakapo. Although the Kakapo were extinct in many parts of the islands by the time Europeans arrived, including the Tararua and Aorangi Ranges, they were still present in the central part of North island and forested parts of South island.
From the 1840s, European settlers cleared vast tracts of land for farming and grazing, further jeopardising the Kakapo and their habitat. They brought more dogs and other mammalian predators, including domestic cats, black rats and stoats. Europeans knew little of the Kakapo until George Gray of the British Museum described it from a skin in 1845. As the Māori had done, early European explorers and their dogs fed on Kakapo. In the late 1800s, Kakapo became well-known as a scientific curiosity, and thousands were captured or killed for zoos, museums and collectors. Most captured specimens died within months. From at least the 1870s, collectors knew the Kakapo population was declining; their prime concern was to collect as many as possible before they became extinct.
In the 1880s, large numbers of mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) were released in New Zealand to reduce rabbit numbers, but they also preyed heavily on many native species including the Kakapo. Other browsing animals, such as introduced deer, competed with Kakapo for food, and caused the extinction of some of its preferred plant species. Kakapo were reportedly still present near the head of the Whanganui River as late as 1894, with one of the last records of a Kakapo in the North Island being a single bird caught in the Kaimanawa Ranges by one Te Kepa Puawheawhe in 1895.
Early protection efforts [మార్చు]
In 1891, the New Zealand government set aside Resolution Island in Fiordland as a nature reserve; in 1894, the government appointed Richard Henry as caretaker. A keen naturalist, Henry was aware that native birds were declining, and began catching and moving Kakapo and kiwi from the mainland to the predator-free Resolution Island. In six years, he moved more than 200 Kakapo to Resolution Island. By 1900, however, stoats had swum to Resolution Island and colonised it; they wiped out this nascent Kakapo population within 6 years.
In 1903, three Kakapo were moved from Resolution Island to the nature reserve of Little Barrier Island north-east of Auckland, but feral cats were present and the Kakapo were never seen again. In 1912, three Kakapo were moved to another reserve, Kapiti Island, north-west of Wellington. One of them survived until at least 1936, despite the presence of feral cats for part of the intervening period.
By the 1920s, the Kakapo were extinct on the North Island and their range and numbers on the South Island were declining. One of their last refuges was rugged Fiordland. There, during the 1930s, they were often seen or heard, and occasionally eaten, by hunters or roadworkers. By the 1940s, reports of Kakapo were becoming scarce.
1950–1989 conservation efforts [మార్చు]
In the 1950s, the New Zealand Wildlife Service was established and began making regular expeditions to search for Kakapo, mostly in Fiordland and what is now the Kahurangi National Park in the northwest of the South Island. Seven Fiordland expeditions between 1951 and 1956 found only a few recent signs. Finally, in 1958 a Kakapo was caught and released in the Milford Sound catchment area in Fiordland. Six more Kakapo were captured in 1961; one was released and the other five were transferred to the aviaries of the Mount Bruce Bird Reserve near Masterton in the North Island. Within months, four of the birds had died and the fifth died after about four years. In the next 12 years, regular expeditions found few signs of Kakapo, indicating that numbers were continuing to decline. Only one bird was captured in 1967; it died the following year.
By the early 1970s, it was uncertain whether Kakapo was still an extant species. At the end of 1974, scientists located several more male Kakapo and made the first scientific observations of Kakapo booming. These observations led Don Merton to speculate for the first time that Kakapo had a lek breeding system. From 1974 to 1976, 14 Kakapo were discovered but all appeared to be males. One male bird was captured in the Milford area in 1975, christened "Richard Henry", and transferred to Maud Island. This raised the possibility that the species would become extinct, because there might be no surviving females. All the birds the Wildlife Service discovered from 1951 to 1976 were in U-shaped glaciated valleys flanked by almost-vertical cliffs and surrounded by high mountains. Such extreme terrain had slowed colonisation by browsing mammals, leaving islands of virtually unmodified native vegetation. However, even here, stoats were present and by 1976 Kakapo were gone from the valley floors and only a few males survived high on the most inaccessible parts of the cliffs.
Prior to 1977, no expedition had been to Stewart Island/Rakiura. In 1977, sightings of Kakapo were reported on Stewart Island. An expedition to the island found a track and bowl system on its first day; soon after, it located several dozen Kakapo. The finding in an 8,000 ha area of fire-modified scrubland and forest raised hope that the population would include females. The total population was estimated at 100 to 200 birds.
Mustelids have never colonised Steward Island/Rakiura, but feral cats were present. During a survey, it was apparent that cats killed Kakapo with a predation rate of 56% per annum. At this rate, the birds could not survive on the island and therefore an intensive cat control was introduced in 1982, after which no cat-killed Kakapo were found. However, to ensure the survival of the remaining birds, scientists decided later that this population should be transferred to predator-free islands; this operation was carried out between 1982 and 1997.
Kakapo recovery plan [మార్చు]
|Translocated to||Number of Kakapo||Deaths < 6 months||Survived as of November 1992|
|Maud Island (1974–81)||9 (6♂, 3♀)||3 (2♂, 1♀)||4 (2♂, 2♀)|
|Little Barrier Island (1982)||22 (13♂, 9♀)||2 (1♂, 1♀)||15–19 (10–12♂, 5–7♀)|
|Codfish Island (1987–92)||30 (20♂, 10♀)||0||20–30 (13–20♂, 7–10♀)|
|Maud Island (1989–91)||6 (4♂, 2♀)||0||5 (3♂, 2♀)|
|Mana Island (1992)||2 (2♀)||1 (1♀)||1 (1♀)|
|Total||65 (43♂, 22♀)||6 (3♂, 3♀)||41–55 (27–36♂, 14–19♀)|
|Note: ♂ = males, ♀ = females.|
In 1989, a Kakapo Recovery Plan was developed and a Kakapo Recovery Group established to implement it. The New Zealand's Department of Conservation replaced the Wildlife Service for this task. The first action of the plan was to relocate all the remaining Kakapo to suitable islands for them to breed. None of the New Zealand islands were ideal to establish Kakapo without rehabilitation by extensive revegetation and the eradication of introduced mammalian predators and competitors. Four islands were finally chosen: Maud, Hauturu/Little Barrier, Codfish and Mana. Sixty-five Kakapo (43 males, 22 females) were successfully transferred onto the four islands in five translocations. Some islands had to be rehabilitated several times when feral cats, stoats and weka kept appearing. Little Barrier Island was eventually viewed as unsuitable due to the rugged landscape, the thick forest and the continued presence of rats, and its birds were evacuated in 1998. Along with Mana Island, it was replaced with two new Kakapo sanctuaries, Chalky Island (Te Kakahu) and Anchor Island. The entire Kakapo population of Codfish Island was temporarily relocated in 1999 to Pearl Island in Port Pegasus to help rid Codfish of rats. All Kakapo on Pearl and Chalky Islands were moved to Anchor Island in 2005.
A key part of the Recovery Plan is the supplementary feeding of females. Kakapo breed only once every two to five years, when a certain type of plant species, primarily Dacrydium cupressinum (rimu), produces protein-rich fruit and seeds. Observations of the relationship between intermittent breeding and the plant's mast year help biologists choose which suitable supplementary foods to increase Kakapo breeding frequency. In 1989, six preferred foods (apples, sweet potatoes, almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and walnuts) were supplied ad libitum each night to 12 feeding stations. Males and females ate the supplied foods, and females nested on Little Barrier Island in the summers of 1989–91 for the first time since 1982, although nesting success was low.
Supplementary feeding not only increases the Kakapo breeding frequency, but also affects the sex ratio of Kakapo offspring, as maternal conditions influence this ratio. (See section "Reproduction" for more information on this topic.) This finding was subsequently used to increase the number of female chicks by deliberately manipulating maternal condition. During the winter of 1981, only females below 1.5 kg weight were given supplementary feeding to avoid raising their body condition, and the sex ratio results in 1982 were close to parity, eliminating the male-biased sex ratios in the unrestricted feeding.
Though breeding can be improved by supplementary feeding, the survival of young Kakapo is hampered by the presence of Polynesian rats. Of 21 chicks that hatched between 1981 and 1994, nine were either killed by rats or died and were subsequently eaten by rats. Nest protection has been intensified since 1995 by using traps and poison stations as soon as a nest had been detected. A small video camera and infra-red light source watch the nest continuously, which will remotely scare approaching rats by small bang and flash lights. To increase the success rate of nesting, a nest watcher places a small thermostatically controlled electric blanket over the eggs or chicks, whenever the female leaves the nest for food. The survival rate of chicks has increased from 29% in unprotected nests to 75% in protected ones.
To monitor the Kakapo population continuously, each bird is equipped with a radio transmitter. Every known Kakapo, barring some young chicks, has been given a name by Kakapo Recovery Programme officials. It is an affectionate way for conservation staff to refer to individual birds, and a stark reminder of how few remain. Artificial incubation of eggs and hand-raising of chicks have often been used to improve the condition of the eggs and chicks. In November 2005, the population comprised 41 females and 45 males, including four fledgings (3 females and 1 male) bred in 2005. The oldest surviving Kakapo, "Richard Henry", is thought to be between 35 and 50 years old.
In 2006, the Kakapo Recovery Programme presented a new management plan that would run from 2006 to 2016. The key goals of this plan are to increase the female population to a minimum of 60 by 2016, increase genetic diversity, maintain or restore a sufficiently large habitat to accommodate the expected increase in the Kakapo population, and maintain public awareness and support.
The Kakapo Recovery Plan has been a successful programme, with the numbers of Kakapo increasing steadily. The adult survival rate and their productivity have both improved significantly since the programme's inception. However, the main goal is to establish at least one viable, self-sustaining, unmanaged population of Kakapo as a functional component of the ecosystem in a protected habitat. To help meet this conservation challenge, two large Fiordland islands, Resolution (20,860 ha) and Secretary (8,140 ha), have been prepared for re-introduction of Kakapo with large-scale ecological restoration activities.
During the 2008-2009 summer breeding season, the total population of Kakapo rose to over 100 for the first time since monitoring began, reaching మూస:Number of Living Kakapo by February 2010. More than twenty of the 34 chicks had to be hand-reared due to a shortage of food on Codfish Island.
In Māori culture [మార్చు]
The Kakapo has a rich tradition of Māori folklore and beliefs associated with it as a species. Their irregular breeding cycle was noted to be associated with heavy fruiting or "masting" events of particular plant species such as the Rimu which led the Māori to credit the bird with the ability to foretell the future. Used to substantiate this claim were reported observations of these birds dropping the berries of the Hinau and Tawa trees (when they were in season) into secluded pools of water to preserve them as a food supply for the summer ahead; the Māori practice of immersing food in water for the same purpose is believed to originate from these observations.
Use for food and clothing [మార్చు]
The meat of Kakapo made good eating and was considered by Māori to be a delicacy and they were hunted for food during the time they were still widespread. One source states that its flesh "resembles lamb in taste and texture", although European settlers have described the bird as having a "strong and slightly stringent flavour".
In breeding years, the loud booming calls of the males at their mating arenas made it easy for Māori hunting parties to track them down, and they were also hunted while feeding or when having dust baths in dry weather. The birds were caught, generally at night, using snares, pitfall traps, or by groups of domesticated Polynesian dogs which accompanied the hunting parties — sometimes they would use fire sticks of various sorts to dazzle the birds in the darkness, stopping them in their tracks and making the capture easier. Cooking was either done in a hāngi or in gourds of boiling oil. The flesh of the birds could be preserved in their own fat and stored in containers for later consumption — hunters of the Ngāi Tahu tribe would pack the flesh in baskets made from the inner bark of Totara tree or in containers constructed from kelp. Bundles of Kakapo tail feathers were attached to the sides of these containers to provide decoration and a way to identify their contents. Also taken by the Māori were the bird's eggs, which are described as "white-ish [sic] but not pure white", and about the same size as a kererū egg.
As well as eating the meat of the Kakapo they killed, Māori would use Kakapo skins — with the feathers still attached — to create cloaks and capes. Each one required up to 11,000 feathers to make. Not only were these garments very beautiful, they also kept the wearer very warm. They were highly valued, and the few still in existence today are considered taonga (treasures) — indeed, the old Māori adage "You have a Kākāpō cape and you still complain of the cold" is used to describe someone who is never satisfied. Kakapo feathers were also used to decorate the heads of taiaha, but were removed before actual use in combat.
Despite all, the Kakapo was also regarded as an affectionate pet by the Māori. This was corroborated by European settlers in New Zealand in the 19th century, among them George Edward Grey, who once wrote in a letter to an associate that his pet Kakapo's behavior towards him and his friends was "more like that of a dog than a bird".
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Kakapo_countఅనే పేరుగల ref లకు పాఠ్యమేమీ ఇవ్వలేదు
ఉదహరింపు పొరపాటు: సరైన
- Murdoch Riley, "Maori Bird Lore; An introduction", Viking Sevenseas NZ LTD., 2001
- Rob Tipa, Short note:"Kakapo in Māori Lore", Notornis, Vol. 53, 193-194
- Rod Morris, Hal Smith,"Wild South: Saving New Zealands endangered birds", Random House New Zealand, 1995
- Kakapo then and now; An Iwi Perspective
- Andrew Crowe, "Which New Zealand Bird?", Penguin, 2001
Further reading [మార్చు]
- Butler, David (1989). Quest for the kakapo. Auckland: Heinemann Reed. ISBN 0-7900-0065-2.
- Climo, Gideon and Ballance, Alison (1997). Hoki: the story of a kakapo. Auckland: Godwit. ISBN 1-86962-009-7.
- Jones, Jenny (2003). The Kakapo. Auckland: Reed. ISBN 1-86948-662-5.
- మూస:IUCN2006 (Database entry includes justification for why this species is critically endangered.)
- Murray Williams and Don Merton. "Saving Kakapo: an illustrated history, 2006". Notornis 53 (1).
- Eulenpapagei oder Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus). in: Günther Steinig (Hrsg.): Brehms Exotische Vogelwelt. Safari, Berlin ²1963, S.62–71. (Die Darstellung folgt vor allem Beobachtungen frühen Erforschern Neuseelands, wie Julius Haast, Georg Grey und Lyall)
- Jim Rearden: Die letzten Tage des Kakapo. in: Geo-Magazin. Hamburg 1978,2, S.88–102. (über die Erhaltungsbemühungen in Fiordland). మూస:ISSN
- Vom Leben eines totgesagten Vogels. in: Geo-Magazin. Hamburg 2006,10(Okt.), S.176–180. మూస:ISSN
- Eulenpapagei. Brummend balzt das letzte Männchen. in: R. L. Schreiber, A. W. Diamond, H. Stern, G. Thielcke (Hrsg.): Rettet die Vogelwelt. O. Maier, Ravensburg 1987, S.198–201. ISBN 3-473-46160-1
- Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine: Last Chance to See. Pan Books, 1990. ISBN 978-0-345-37198-0
- Don V. Merton, Rodney B. Morris, Ian A. E. Atkinson: Lek behaviour in a parrot: the Kakapo Strigops habroptilus of New Zealand. in: The Ibis. Oxford 126.1984. మూస:ISSN
- David Cemmick, Dick Veitch: Kakapo Country. The Story of the World's most unusual bird. Foreword by David Bellamy. Illustrationen von D. Cemmick. Hodder&Stoughton, Auckland 1987. ISBN 0-340-41647-5
- Rod Morris, Hal Smith: Wild South. Saving New Zealand's Endangered Birds. TVNZ and Century Hutchinson, Auckland 1988. ISBN 1-86941-043-2
- Philip Temple, Chris Gaskin: The Story of the kakapo. Parrot of the Night. Hodder&Stoughton, Auckland 1988. (Pricewinner: Children's Picture Book of the Year Award 1990). ISBN 0-340-51967-3
- Ralph Powlesland: Kakapo Recovery Plan 1989–1994. Published by The Department of Conservation (DoC), Wellington 1989. ISBN 0-478-01114-8
- R. G. Powlesland, A. Roberts, B. D. Lloyd, D. Merton: Number, fate, and distribution of Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) found on Stewart Island, New Zealand 1979–1992. in: New Zealand Journal of Zoology. Wellington 22.1995, 239–248. మూస:ISSN
- Mary Cresswell, Kakapo Management Group: KAKAPO RECOVERY PLAN 1996–2005. Threatened Species Recovery Plan No. 21. Department of Conservation (DoC), Wellington 1996. ISBN 0-478-01773-1
- Don Merton: Kakapo. in: P. J. Higgins (Hrsg.): Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Bd 4. RAOU. Oxford University Press, Melbourne 1999, 633–646. ISBN 0-19-553071-3
- Tim Higham: The Kakapo of Codfish Island. in: New Zealand Geographic magazine. Auckland 1992,15 (July-Sept.), 30–38. మూస:ISSN
- Derek Grzelewski: Kakapo. Bird on the brink. in: New Zealand Geographic Magazine. Ohakune 2002, 56 (March-April). మూస:ISSN
- Gerard Hutching: Back from the Brink. The Fight to Save our Endangered Birds. Penguin Books Publisher, Auckland 2004. ISBN 0-14-301948-1
- A celebration of kakapo. Special Issue of Notornis. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington 53.2006,1. మూస:ISSN
Further viewing [మార్చు]
- BBC/Iostar (04/10/09). "Last Chance to See: Kakapo". Last Chance to See. episode 5/6. series 2009. BBC. BBC Two.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Strigops habroptila|
- World Parrot Trust Parrot Encyclopedia - Species Profiles
- Kakapo Recovery Programme
- TerraNature page on Kakapo
- New Zealand Department of Conservation Kakapo Page
- Rare parrot receives special care - article from BBC News
- Start of the Breeding season 2009
- ARKive - images and movies of the Kakapo
- Kakapo in successful return journey (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5ZBDZlnw3)
- Saving Kakapo: an illustrated history by Murray Williams and Don Merton, in: 'Notornis (Journal), vol. 53/1, 2006' Abstract provided by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand.
- BBC Wildlife Finder News stories, and clips from the BBC archive