Strigopidae – New Zealand parrots

These large parrots could be naughty, annoying, and noisy but demonstrate a unique personality, sadly attracting bird lovers

Encompasses some of the most distinctive and critically endangered parrots in the world. This family includes the Kea (Nestor notabilis), the Kaka (Nestor meridionalis), and the Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), each with unique traits that set them apart from other members of the order Psittaciformes.

The Kea, often called the “clown of the mountains,” is known for its intelligence and curiosity. This olive-green parrot is known for being playful and is often seen interacting with humans and their belongings in alpine regions. Keas have a large cranial capacity, which correlates with their problem-solving abilities and the complex social structures they form.

The Kaka is a forest-dwelling parrot with a subtler brownish plumage that allows it to blend into the canopy. Despite their less flashy coloring, Kakas are vital for the propagation of many native trees, as they are known to be pollinators and seed dispersers, crucial for maintaining forest ecosystems.

The Kakapo, also known as the “night parrot” or “owl parrot,” is perhaps the most unusual of the group. It is the world’s only flightless parrot, and it’s also the heaviest. With its nocturnal habits, unique mossy green plumage, and a distinct, musty odor that can be used to locate individuals in the dense New Zealand bush, the Kakapo is truly one of a kind.

The habitat destruction and modification due to human activities have further contributed to their decline. As a result, conservation programs for these species have included predator control, habitat preservation, and intensive management, including hand-rearing chicks and supplementary feeding.

One of the most notable conservation efforts for the Kakapo has been the use of “Kakapo Recovery,” which involves careful monitoring of individuals, the use of artificial insemination, and translocation to predator-free islands where they can breed and live with a reduced threat from introduced species.