Birdorable Kagu

2015 Bonanza Bird #2: Kagu

December 2nd, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds 3 comments

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with an unusual heron-like bird endemic to New Caledonia: the Kagu.

Birdorable Kagu

The Kagu is a flightless bird with a pearly-grey plumage and bright orange legs and bill. The eyes are dark red. Kagus have a long head crest that may be used in territorial displays against other Kagu or as a threat to potential predators. And though they are flightless, the wings of the Kagu are far from useless. Adult birds will use a "broken wing" display to distract predators from their nest or chicks. When outstretched, the Kagu's wings have bold black and white stripes that also may serve to distract predators.

Photo of a Kagu
Kagu by Pierre Fidenci (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Another unique feature that Kagus have is their nasal corns. These are small corn-shaped flaps that rest over their nostrils. These flaps are though to protect the bird's airways when it forages by probing its beak in the earth.

Close-up of Kagu's nasal corn
Close-up of nasal corns

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Kagu is endangered. The current wild population consists of an estimated 250 to 1000 adult birds. They face threats including those from introduced predators, including dogs, deer, and feral pigs. The Kagu is our 618th Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Kagu!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a tropical grouse-like bird with a great "hair-do." Can you guess tomorrow's species?