Strigops habroptilus

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Compelling stories: The Kakapo has fascinated me for years. It is a nocturnal parrot that looks a like an owl, that can live to a hundred (we think), and that does not breed every year. The mating ritual is otherworldly. The last mainland birds were all male and I am haunted by the thought of the remaining males booming, waiting for the females that never arrived. That vision reminds of the last male in ‘The Last of the Curlews’, a fictional account of the last Eskimo Curlew. The discovery of a Kakapo population on Rakiura (Stewart Island) saved the species. 2019 saw the population rise to above 200 for the first time in many decades. A list of all living Kakapo, as well as those deceased in the past two decades, is maintained on Wikipedia. Perhaps the best source of live updates on Kakapo recovery is Dr Andrew Digby’s Twitter account.

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