This year, the parrot may not be New Zealanders’ favorite bird
Kakapo is not among the nominees for the New Zealand Bird of the Year vote, as the famous bird has won the competition twice before.
According to a report in The Guardian, the parrot was withdrawn from the ballot due to concerns that the excessive popularity of the chubby, flightless parrot would distract attention from other, less attractive candidates.
The macaw, also known as the owl parrot, won the competition in 2008 and 2020, a double that no other bird species has achieved so far.
kakapo (Strigops habrotilus) is a type of greenish-brown parrot and can grow up to three kilograms, emit an unpleasant smell, are active at night, cannot fly, and can only climb trees, the population of which was on the verge of extinction in the 1990s, but has now grown to 252 specimens.
A spokesperson for Forest and Bird, which organized the elections, emphasized that Kakapo’s disqualification is not permanent, and will only lead to the suspension of the competition, and he will be able to return to the list of candidates later. “If the same bird wins every year, the competition will not be exciting,” he added.
New Zealand’s Bird of the Year competition was launched 17 years ago to bring attention to the island nation’s endangered birds.
The organizers are conducting an online campaign for different birds, this year among others for the gray duck or cave lily. The competition has been in the crossfire of great controversy in recent years, last year for example because a homegrown bat was included among the candidates and eventually won.
In 2019, it turned out that too many people from Russia voted, raising doubts about influence. However, the organizers finally decided that the interest of Russian ornithologists could be responsible for this strange phenomenon, since there are birds living in both countries.