Day 4: Giant parrots!

We’re here to help families… every day of the lock-down.

Written by      

Stephen Belcher

Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

If younger readers are finding the story tricky just look at the pictures and figure out what story the photographer is trying to tell.

Talking points

Try discussing these ideas with your family at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • In the picture of the kākāpō’s island habitat, what do you notice about the places that are considered safest for them?
  • Kākāpō were once found all over Aotearoa. Can you imagine having kākāpō in your back yard? Maybe a thousand years ago, they did live in forest where your house is now!
  • Would you let a kākāpō climb all over you?
  • Why do you think kākāpō smell of fruit?
  • Are you impressed with how well the kākāpō camouflages with the forest floor?
  • What do you think the scientists are doing with the technology in the pictures? How might it be helpful?

Task for the day

Kākāpō are vegetarian. They eat leaves, flowers, fern fronds, bark, roots, bulbs and seeds. Just like most humans, they also really enjoy fruit.

1) How much vegetarian food would a bird find in your garden? Take a walk and count up how many sources of fruit, berries, seeds, fern shoots and other avian snacks are growing. Is your garden a bird’s paradise?

2) Can you get a photo of a bird foraging in your garden? Send it in to us, or write a sentence about which bird you spotted and what they were eating!

Get creative

Colour in this template of a kākāpō by kindly shared with us by kākāpō ranger Sarah Little—click the image below to get a big version you can print out, or colour in on your device. We’d love to see your hard work when it is finished. Send it to

Hide and seek

Other animals are masters of camouflage, just like the kākāpō. Check out these photos of a fairy tern chick, and an Archey’s frog, and see how long it takes you to spot the camouflaged animal!

Spot the one-day-old fairy tern chick in this picture. If chicks are threatened by aerial predators, parents will simply take off and leave the nest, trusting that the chick’s disguise will keep it safe. The birds are most vulnerable to land-based threats during the summer months between egg-laying and fledging.
Archey’s frogs are ‘ambush feeders’, waiting motionlessly on logs or within tree ferns for invertebrate food to pass by. They are known to climb several metres up trees, and it’s likely that they do this in pursuit of a meal.