Saturday, January 29, 2022

The timing of breeding in the kakapo ( Strigops habroptilus )

TitleThe timing of breeding in the kakapo ( Strigops habroptilus )
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsCockrem, JF
Type of Articlepaper
KeywordsKakapo, mast seeding, photoperiod, seasonal breeding, Strigops habroptilus

The kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) is a nocturnal, herbivorous parrot that shows lek behaviour and does not breed every year. When breeding does occur, egg-laying and incubation in mid-summer are followed by a prolonged period of chick-rearing, with all parental care provided by the female. Breeding years for kakapo are associated with mast seeding years for a range of forest trees and plants, and the periodicity of kakapo breeding is linked with the periodicity of years of large seed and fruit production by their major plant foods. Kakapo are likely to have an annual cycle of gonadal growth and regression driven by the annual cycle of daylength, with breeding occurring in years when kakapo respond to cues from a range of plant species that undergo masting. Kakapo breeding is initiated in response to cues that appear in early summer, but in some years there is insufficient food for the rearing of young in the following autumn. Rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) is an important food source for chick rearing and is likely to provide an important cue for kakapo in areas where rimu is present.

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