Screw you Comic Sans haters! my font is the best, now enjoy some random stuff I got off the internet......
[it] clambers up and down trees because it cannot fly … it purrs like a cat and smell like a posy of fragrant flowers … it allows itself to be picked up and handled without demur or apparent concern’ (Vietmeyer 1992, p. 69).
Another Ten Bird Meme bird (use the search bar if you need more information on that concept). Sometimes called the Owl parrot, the Kakapo Strigops habroptilis was first described by John Gray in 1845 [adjacent image is John Keulemans's painting of 1873]. Everything about the Kakapo is extraordinary. It’s a large, nocturnal, cryptically-coloured, terrestrial bird, endemic to New Zealand. A specialized foliage-eater, it seems to live on a metabolic knife-edge, rather like the Giant panda. Successful breeding is limited only to those years when mass fruitings of podocarps occur. This worked fine in a New Zealand where there were lots of podocarps and lots of kakapos (indeed, fossils show that kakapos were formerly abundant), but environmental destruction caused by humans has meant that kakapos have been forced into suboptimal areas where life was even harder than before. This was combined with devastating predation from domestic cats, stoats and rats. Consequently, as is well known, kakapos have become extinct on the mainland and only survive on managed offshore islands where introduced rats and other predators have been eliminated (Vietmeyer 1992, Clout 2001). In 2001 there were 62 individuals. Worldwide. Currently (Jan 2009) there are 90, all of which have names.
The Kakapo has evolved voluminous guts, and these allow it to bulk-process the poor-quality vegetation it eats. Accordingly, it is a giant among parrots (big males reach 3.6 kg), and is the largest extant species. Conventionally stated to be flightless, it is in fact capable of gliding. Certainly it mostly walks places however, and individuals create well-worn trails in the mountainous forest where they live. Distinctively ‘chewed’, compressed fragments of vegetation hang from the plants adjacent to these trails, and kakapos leave both compact cylindrical droppings and white traces of uric acid on the trails. The uric acid streaks apparently ‘have a herb-like smell when fresh’ (Juniper & Parr 1998, p. 372) [image below from wikipedia].