Can Kakapo Talk? (Find Out!)

Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Parrots are beautiful creatures of the world known for their excellent talking abilities. Several species of parrots, such as African Greys, Macaws, Cockatoos, Budgies, Quakers, and Amazon Parrots, can mimic human speech and words. But is it true for Kakapo? Can Kakapo talk?  

Although kakapo is capable of speaking, they cannot speak as we normally think of parrots. Unlike parrots, they aren’t capable of mimicking human speech. Instead, they make a soft, breathy sound that sounds like a chuckle. If you talk to them gently, they’ll make the sound. According to my understanding, it sounds somewhat similar to the sounds an African gray parrot might make when feeling a bit enthusiastic.

A fascinating fact about them is that they use their sound as a breeding tool. This topic will be discussed further in this article.

Can Kakapo Talk

Barbara Heidenreich Observation of Kakapo Talking Ability

Since 1990, Barbara Heidenreich has been involved in animal training and behavior. Traveling the world, she utilizes science-based training technology to train some of the world’s most enigmatic creatures.

This is how she describes her experiences working with Sirocco kakapo:

It was initially confusing for me to work with Sirocco since I did not know the Kakapo language. The “skraaak” call that so many describe finally came to me on my second or third night working with Sirocco.

As a trainer, I was curious to know why he did what he did. What does it mean? Daryl Eason, a long-time member of the Kakapo recovery team, has joined our team. His knowledge of all things kakapo is unsurpassed.

After asking him what the call signifies, it quickly became apparent that a “skraak” can have a variety of meanings depending on the situation.

To date, Sirocco has not been observed during his calls. We were only able to hear it. The other night, during a training session, he skraaked!

I found it quite fascinating to watch him perform this task. When he was touched innocently on the tail, he let out a loud skraak.

A tail touch in this instance seemed to mildly irritate him and perhaps even surprise him. However, he continued training immediately following the incident. Occasionally, he skraaked in exitement, and he also skraaked under calm conditions.

How Kakapo Use Sound For Breeding Purposes?

During mating season, male kakapo makes loud, booming sounds by inhaling air into their thoracic sacs. As the sac inflates, they begin to grunt at a low volume and increase in volume. Following a sequence of about 20 loud booms, the volume gradually reduced.

After that, he stands up, inflates his chest again, and starts a new sequence of booms. When the wind is blowing, you can hear the booms for at least five kilometers. Every male produces thousands of booms during the course of eight hours of sleep.

This happens every night for three months, during which the individual may lose half his weight. The bowls in each male’s court are moved in different directions to send out booms.


  • 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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