Kakapow! Rare world's fattest parrot has record breeding season

phys.org | 11/2/2015 | Staff
TaylorShaye (Posted by) Level 3
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The world's fattest parrot, the critically endangered kakapo, has enjoyed a record breaking breeding season, New Zealand scientists said Thursday, with climate change possibly aiding the species' unique mating spree.

Less than 50 years after the flightless nocturnal bird was thought to have been extinct, at least 75 chicks are expected to survive this year, Andrew Digby, a science advisor to New Zealand's kakapo recovery, operation told AFP.

Digby - Breeding - Programme - Scientists - State

Digby oversees a breeding programme so precisely monitored that scientists can state the last of 249 eggs laid will hatch on Friday.

It will significantly boost the population which has grown to 147 adults since a small number of the plump green, yellow and black birds was discovered in 1970.

Digby - Kakapo - Parrot - Females - Breeding

Digby described the kakapo as an "unusual" parrot as the females control the breeding process and only mate every two to four years when New Zealand's native rimu trees are full of fruit.

"We don't quite know what the trigger is but one of the things we are looking at is that the rimu berry is really high in vitamin D, a super food basically, which is associated with fertility and health," he said.

Rimu - Trees

The rimu trees have...
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