Of parrots, Stringops, the kakapo or owl-parrot, is certainly peculiar, while Nestor constitutes a peculiar subfamily of the brush-tongued parrots or Trichoglossidae.
Until recent years the forest birds did much to atone for this deficiency, for among them the tui and makomako rank high as songsters, while the apteryxes, kakapo, weka and stitch-bird are of peculiar interest to science.
In India the northern range of the group is only bounded by the slopes of the Himalaya, and farther to the eastward parrots are not only abundant over the whole of the Malay Archipelago, as well as Australia and Tasmania, but two very well-defined families are peculiar to New Zealand and its adjacent islands (see Kakapo and Nestor).
Finsch published at Leiden an elaborate monograph of the parrots, 4 regarding them as a family, in which he admitted 26 genera, forming 5 subfamilies: (I) that composed of Strigops (Kakapo), only; (2) that containing the crested forms or cockatoos; (3) one which he named Sittacinae, comprising all the long-tailed species - a somewhat heterogeneous assemblage, made up of Macaws and what are commonly known as parakeets; (4) the parrots proper with short tails; and (5) the so-called "brush-tongued" parrots, consisting of the LoRIES (q.v.) and Nestors.
KAKAPO, the Maori name, signifying "night parrot," and frequently adopted by English writers, of a bird, commonly called by the British in New Zealand the "ground-parrot" or "owl-parrot."
In habits the kakapo is almost wholly nocturnal, 3 hiding in holes (which in some instances it seems to make for itself) under the roots of trees or rocks during the day time, and only issuing forth about sunset to seek its food, which is solely vegetable in kind, and consists of the twigs, leaves, seeds and fruits of trees, grass and fern roots - some observers say mosses also.
The kakapo is about the size of a raven, of a green or brownishgreen colour, thickly freckled and irregularly barred with dark brown, and dashed here and there with longitudinal stripes .of light yellow.
In captivity the kakapo is said to show much intelligence, as well as an affectionate and playful disposition.