The Flightless Parrot

April 2, 2018
By , Turner, ME

A flightless parrot almost seems silly. How is a parrot supposed to reach fruit that’s in a tree, which is over 20 feet high? When predators approach, how are they supposed to escape from them? The thought of there being such a thing is nearly impossible. Although, in the deep forests of New Zealand, the impossible becomes possible. The oversize, bewilderment is called the Kakapo. The Kakapo is the world’s heaviest and the only flightless parrot in existence and it’s easy to see why. 


The Kakapo wasn’t originally flightless. Yes, at one point in time they could fly. However, flying became a thing of the past when the species figured out that they had no ground predators. This discovery caused the birds to rely primarily on getting around on their feet. It was easier and safer for the Kakapo. Years later, as humans began migrating to New Zealand on boats, the Kakapo become endangered. Not because of the humans, but because of what the humans brought with them. It was very common to find stray rats, cats, and weasels on these ships. So when the boats reached the land these animals would run ramped throughout the island (Featured Creature). The vulnerable Kakapo became the innocent prey of the new species. The Kakapos had no way of defending themselves against their new predators. In fact, when the Kakapo sees a predator approaching, it stands still. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be very effective for the Kakapo. One by one, the Kakapo’s numbers kept dropping. Today, scientists keep a close eye on them. The Kakapo is an endangered species so they are being heavily protected. There are only about 125 left in existance. Recently, the number of Kakapo left hasn’t dropped. Which is remarkable, because of all the hard tasks the Kakapo has to perform (Featured Creature).


The Kakapo seems like it has many disabilities. However, the Kakapo actually has several abilities that other birds don’t have. Being flightless and being a vegetarian can cause some problems. What do you do when all of the best fruits and best leaves are at the top of a tree? How are you supposed to get them? Fortunately, the Kakapo has come up with a solution for that. When this creative bird is eager for a snack or their next meal, they find a tree and slowly maneuver up it using both of their claws and their beak. It might look silly for outsiders, but it proves to be helpful to the Kakapo. Eventually, they make it to the top and for all their hard work they get the reward of relaxing while eating the delicious treat. The Kakapo’s mossy green color helps them blend in with the leaves of the trees so predators have a hard time spotting them (PBS). These are only a few of the Kakapo’s abilities. They may not seem like much, but they mean everything to the remaining Kakapo.


In recent years the Kakapo have been fighting for their lives. Their numbers have increased, but not by much. The Kakapo are a truly incredible species that need to be more thoroughly researched. With more knowledge of the bird, scientist could potentially save this species for good. In my opinion, this bird deserves a second chance. Afterall, we are the ones that put them in danger.






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