What Does the Kakapo Eat?

The kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) is a type of big parrot that is distinctive in its absolute inability to fly. It is the only species of parrot on the planet without that skill set. The nocturnal creatures, which originate in New Zealand, eat mostly plants in their diet. Kakapos, which are also frequently referred to as "owl parrots" thanks to their massive peepers, can sometimes achieve weights of up to 9 pounds.

About the Kakapo

Kakapos are rare parrots that have critically endangered status, indicates the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species. These birds have been critically endangered since 2000. The geographic range for kakapos is extremely limited, as they exist on a mere four islands. A variety of risks are associated with the dropping population, including predation by cats. As of early 2012, 126 kakapos still existed. Kakapos typically reside in isolated mountain environments, although throughout the past usually inhabited forest settings. The smooth feathers of kakapos are generally green or light yellow in color.

Diet of the Kakapo

For the most part, kakapos are herbivorous birds. Some of these parrots' dietary staples include fern roots, seeds, cones, green shoots, fungi, stems, foliage, moss, nuts, bulbs, pollen, bark and fruit. However, kakapos are not herbivores 100 percent of the time. Occasionally, they also dine on tiny reptiles, bugs and larvae. The season also has an influence on the kakapo diet.

Rimu Tree Fruit Preference

Although kakapos readily eat a wide array of plants and fruits such as berries, their true meal preference lies in the rimu tree's fruit. In times when this specific fruit is readily available, kakapos tend to feed solely on it. Rimu tree fruit definitely is the kakapo favorite.

Eating Styles of the Kakapo

Kakapos possess specialized beaks that enable them to pulverize their sustenance within their mouths. Although the majority of birds utilize their gizzards for these chewing purposes, kakapos' gizzards are rather futile. Once a kakapo is through feeding on something, he will leave behind a conspicuous and fibrous chew mass that has a crescent form -- a direct result of his soaking up all of a plant's nourishment.