Can Kakapo Fly? (Find Out!)

Last Updated on February 14, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Kakapo is a species of parrot that is native to New Zealand. It is a unique bird that is famous for its flightless and nocturnal habits. So, the answer to the question ‘can Kakapo fly?’ is a straightforward no.

Kakapos are the only parrots that can’t fly. They don’t flap their wings. They rely solely on their wings for balance and support. In contrast to other birds, their feathers are much softer because they do not need to be stiff and strong to support flight. Their sternum (breastbone) lacks a keel, which enables other birds to fly using their flight muscles.

Despite being flightless, the Kakapo is an exceptional hiker and climber and has good on-ground speed.

Can Kakapo Fly

According to Douglas Adams

(Flying is not an option for Kakapo. Sadly, the kakapo seems to have forgotten how to fly, and it seems to have forgotten that it has forgotten. A seriously concerned kakapo has been observed running up a tree and jumping out of it, whereupon it lands in an ungainly heap)

Why Kakapo Can’t Fly?

  • Heavy Weight and Soft Feathers

The Kakapo is a large parrot, with a body length of up to 60 cm and a weight of up to 4 kg. This size and weight, combined with its flightless wings, make it one of the heaviest flightless birds in the world. Its wings are short and rounded, with a reduced number of feathers. This makes them unable to fly.

  • Absence of Keel Bone

Another reason is that they do not have a keel bone. Among other birds, keels serve as a structure where flight muscles are attached and assist in flight. Since a keel is a crucial part of flying and is absent in Kakapo, they can’t fly.

  • Natural Evolution

The loss of flight ability in the Kakapo is also believed to be a result of its isolation on the remote islands of New Zealand. With no predators, the Kakapo evolved in an environment where flight was not necessary for survival. Over time, the species lost the ability to fly as it adapted to its environment.

Excellent Hiker and Climber

Despite its being flightless, the Kakapo is a skilled hiker and climber. It can navigate rugged terrain and climb to great heights in search of food. Its large feet and powerful legs provide a strong grip and excellent stability, allowing it to maneuver through the dense underbrush of its forest habitat with ease.

In addition to its climbing abilities, the Kakapo also has good on-ground speed. Its strong legs and large feet allow it to move quickly and efficiently, making it an adept runner and providing an effective escape mechanism from potential predators.


The Kakapo is a flightless parrot that is native to New Zealand. While it is unable to fly, it is an exceptional hiker, climber, and runner, and is known for its nocturnal habits.

This is due to its isolation on the remote islands of New Zealand and its evolution in an environment where flight is not essential for survival. Despite its inability to fly, the Kakapo is a unique and fascinating species that is worth learning more about.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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