Saving the kakapo: the conservation of the world's most peculiar parrot

  • Published source details Clout M.N. & Merton D.V. (1998) Saving the kakapo: the conservation of the world's most peculiar parrot. Bird Conservation International, 8, 281-296.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for parrots to increase reproductive success

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Translocate parrots

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for parrots to increase reproductive success

    A 1998 review of data from three islands in New Zealand between 1990 and 1997 (Clout & Merton 1998), found that providing kakapos Strigopus habroptilus with supplementary food (nuts, apples and sweet potatoes provided at feeding stations year-round) may have increased breeding attempts on Little Barrier Island, North Island, with no breeding attempts between 1982 (when 22 kakapos were translocated there) and 1989, but between two and four females nested in four of the next six years, following food provision. Male display behaviour also increased in this period. However, there were no similar increases on two other islands, with one of three females breeding once on Maud Island between 1991 and 1998, despite supplementary feeding from 1991 onwards. Females on Codfish Island only bred once between 1992 and 1998 (with a total of six females nesting), following supplementary feeding starting in 1992 and this coincided with heavy fruiting of rimu Dacrydium cupressinum trees. Overall breeding success was low across the study period, owing to high rates of egg fertility, and the starvation or probable predation of many chicks.


  2. Translocate parrots

    A 1998 review (Clout & Merton 1998) of the kakapo Strigops habroptilus translocation programme described in Lloyd & Powlesland 1994 stated that yearly survival rates of 61 kakapo was around 98% following their translocation from Stewart Island to four other offshore islands. In 1997, at least 48 translocated birds (78%) were known to be alive. Productivity of translocated kakapo has been low, with high rates of egg infertility (approximately 40%) and nestling mortality. The population in February 1998 was 57 individuals, approximately 10% fewer than in 1982, when translocations began in earnest.


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