Southland region

Kākāpō eating berries, Whenua Hou/Codfish Island. Photo copyright: Tui De Roy (DOC use only).

Kākāpō eating berries, Whenua Hou/Codfish Island

Map of New Zealand highlighting the southland region.

The kākāpō (night parrot) is one of New Zealand’s unique ‘treasures’ and with only 126 known surviving birds. It is listed internationally as a critically endangered species.

Large, flightless and nocturnal, the kākāpō is an eccentric parrot which can live for decades. It is not closely related to other parrots and, in fact, has a combination of biological features not shared by any other species. It is the only representative of a unique sub-family, Strigops habroptila, and the softness of its plumage is represented in the second part of that scientific name. With mottled moss-green feathers, camouflage is the bird’s main form of defence.

New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) has sponsored the kākāpō recovery programme since 1990. Scientific research and operational support have provided a stronger foundation for the recovery of kākāpō, one of the the world's rarest parrots.


Find out more

Learn more

New Zealand Birds Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand birds


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