Sirocco the kākāpō conservation superstar

The kākāpō who thinks he's human

Sirocco caught a respiratory illness at three weeks old. Treating it meant he had to be hand-raised and kept away from other kākāpō and as a result became imprinted on humans - he doesn't know he's a bird, he thinks he's one of us.

He's still not interested in other kākāpō; he doesn’t associate with them, and instead he booms in the presence of humans. He now lives on Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds where he keeps watch on the rangers and any visiting children from local schools.

Sirocco. Photo: Sabine Bernert.
Sirocco

Sirocco on social media

Get the latest kākāpō news from his updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Sirocco on tour

Sirocco. Photo: Sabine Bernert.
Sirocco

Because kākāpō are so rare, it’s difficult to get an opportunity to see one.

Sirocco lets people connect with this rare and unusual species. He remains a wild bird, in that he does not live in captivity, but he has visited a few places in the last few years so people can see him.

Find out when he's on tour by signing up to his updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Conservation superstar

His superstar status was elevated further in 2009 when the BBC series “Last Chance to See” featuring Stephen Fry and Mark Cawardine aired in the UK.

A YouTube clip of Sirocco getting ‘up close and personal’ with presenter Mark Cawardine has had over 6 million views!

Watch the YouTube video

Watch a Meet the Locals video about Sirocco

Spokesbird for conservation

In 2010 Sirocco was officially recognised as a conservation ambassador by the Prime Minister John Key. Launching New Zealand’s involvement in the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 Mr Key named Sirocco the “Official Spokesbird for Conservation”.

Mr Key commented on Sirocco's "worldwide fan base" who "hang on every squawk that comes out of his beak" and said Sirocco would focus attention on the plight of endangered species.

Facts about Sirocco

Sirocco. Photo: Sabine Bernert.
Sirocco

Name: Sirocco (he was named after the hot desert wind of North Africa, continuing a theme of wind-oriented names - his mother's name is Zephyr).

Date of birth: 23 March 1997 (scientists believe kākāpō can live for around 60 years).

Sex: Male (although he has not shown any interest in mating with female kākāpō yet)

Favourite food: Sirocco enjoys special parrot pellets, corn, carrots, broccoli, kumara and macadamia nuts. Kākāpō are vegetarians and eat the leaves and fruit of native trees.

Fascinating fact: Sirocco taught us that kākāpō can swim. In 2007, when visiting Maud Island, he saw the ranger's family running and jumping off the jetty and decided to join them. He paddled back to shore, shook himself off and seemed completely unworried by this event.

View more photos of Sirocco

Sirocco on Last Chance to See with Stephen Fry and Mark Cawardine

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Find out more

Learn more

New Zealand Birds Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand birds

Kākāpō Recovery

Contacts

DOC's 24 hour emergency hotline:

0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468)

Call to report sick or injured wildlife, and whale or dolphin strandings.