Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Kakapo Boom Through the Night

A bumper crop of fruit led to a bumper crop of young birds
© Jake Osborne View Large

The Kakapo is a large, flightless parrot unique to New Zealand. Hoping to attract females, several males gather in a “lek.” They sing at the same time, and their deep-pitched notes carry a long distance. Females may wander in from as much as a mile away. This booming competition goes on for several months. These rare parrots breed only every five years or so, when there is plenty of rimu fruit to feed the chicks.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote® 

Kakapo Boom Through the Night

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote.
[Kakapo male booming https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/conservation/native-anima..., 1.02-1.25]
After dark, a deep booming echoes from atop a mountain ridge in New Zealand.
[Kakapo male booming https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/conservation/native-anima..., 1.02-1.25]
It’s the song of a male Kakapo, a large flightless parrot unique to New Zealand. In what’s called a “lek,” several males sing at the same time, each hoping to attract females to breed with. The deep-pitched notes carry a long distance. Females a mile away may begin walking—OK, maybe waddling might be a better description — toward the sound.
This booming competition goes on for several months. Each male Kakapo sings from a shallow depression on the ground, which he has dug. He wears down pathways to guide the females to his hangout. And in case the females need a bit more help finding him in the dark, he makes this sharp call:
[male Kakapo “ching” call: https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/conservation/native-anima..., 0.00-0.04]
In any given area, one male kakapo will emerge victorious and breed with the majority of females.
[male Kakapo “ching” call: https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/conservation/native-anima..., 0.00-0.04]
Kakapo are endangered. These rare parrots breed only every five years or so, when there is plenty of rimu fruit to feed the chicks. During the 2018-2019 breeding season, a bumper crop of the red, berry-sized fruit led to record survival of young birds — a beacon of hope for New Zealand’s iconic walking parrot.
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
                                                             ###
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Bird sounds provided by govt.nz/globalassets.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2020 BirdNote   June  2020      Narrator: Michael Stein
 
ID# kakapo-02-2020-06-02   kakapo-02
 
Rimu is pronounced REE-moo, with a rolled R; see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKxUEsF88bU at 3:22

Sources:
[lots of information at this site: https://www.doc.govt.nz/kakapo-recovery]
https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/topic/1010
https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2019/kakapo-population-reach...
https://www.google.com/amp/s/phys.org/news/2015-11-rimu-berry-game-chang...

Related field notes:

Home
Shows
Galleries
More