Once out in the open, the kakapo will reveal its large size, and the startling mottled moss-green body feathers that provide perfect camouflage in New Zealand's native forest. The softness of the feathers are represented in the second part of the scientific name – Strigops habroptila
A closer encounter will reveal that thick, musty kakapo smell. Strong and distinctive , the odour alerts dogs, cats and other predators to the presence of the bird and was a primary cause of the kakapo's rapid decline.
People are captivated by the un-birdlike behaviour of this critically endangered parrot. Its waddling gait, curiosity, wide range of calls, and comic antics meant that the kakapo was even occasionally kept as a pet by early settlers.
The kakapo is a bird out of time. If you look one in its large, round, greeny-brown face, it has a look of serenely innocent incomprehension that makes you want to hug it and tell it that everything will be all right, though you know that it probably will not be." - Douglas Adams, British author, 1990.