About the Kagu

Also known as: Cagou
The Kagu is a long-crested and long-legged bittern- or heron-like bird native to New Caledonia. This is a nearly flightless species that prefers to spend most of its time on or close to the ground.

The Kagu is notable for several reasons. It is the only living species in its genus. It is fairly light in color, with a white to pale gray plumage, for a species that spends much of its time near the ground. It has a long head crest that is virtually invisible when at rest but can fan out around the entire head when erect. The Kagu is also the only species to have small structures covering its nostrils. These are referred to as "nasal corns" and may have evolved to help keep the birds airway clear as it probes the earth when feeding.

The Kagu is endemic to New Caledonia, on the island of Grande Terre, where it is found in forest or shrubland habitat. As carnivores, they feed on worms, snails, lizards, and other small prey items.
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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 02 December 2015
Scientific Name
Rhynochetos jubatus
  • Eurypygiformes
  • Rhynochetidae
  • Rhynochetos
  • R. jubatus
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Endangered (as of 8 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
22 inches


From IUCN Red List:
The Kagu is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2013 by BirdLife International. This charismatic species is classified as Endangered on the basis of its very small, severely fragmented population, with a very small extent of occurrence limited to New Caledonia, which is suffering an overall decline. However, there is cause for hope, as recent research shows it still to be widespread, and populations in some areas are increasing due to a reduction in incidental killing by hunting dogs. Should the species's range be found not be declining this species will warrant downlisting to a lower category of threat.

International Names

Chinese (汉语) 鹭鹤
Czech (Cesky) kagu chocholatý
Danish (Dansk) Kagu
Dutch (Nederlands) Kagoe
Finnish (Suomi) kagu
French (Français) Kagou huppé
German (Deutsch) Kagu
Italian (Italiano) Kagu
Japanese (日本語) カグア [kagu]
Norwegian (Norsk) Kagu
Polish (Polski) kagu
Portuguese (Português) Kagu
Russian (русский язык) Кагу
Spanish (Español) Kagú
Swedish (Svenska) Kagu
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2015 Bonanza Bird #2: Kagu

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with an unusual heron-like bird endemic to New Caledonia: the Kagu. The Kagu is a flightless bird with a pearly-grey plumage and bright orange legs ... more