Image: Mike Bodie | DOC


Meet Sirocco – a charismatic kākāpō, national treasure, and media superstar. He's also New Zealand's official Spokesbird for conservation.



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Name: Sirocco (he was named after the hot desert wind of North Africa, continuing a theme of wind-oriented names – his mother's name is Zephyr).

Date of birth: 23 March 1997 (scientists believe kākāpō can live for around 60 years).

Sex: Male (although he has not shown any interest in mating with female kākāpō yet)

Favourite food: Sirocco enjoys special parrot pellets, corn, carrots, broccoli, kumara and macadamia nuts. Kākāpō are vegetarians and eat the leaves and fruit of native trees.

Fascinating fact: Sirocco taught us that kākāpō can swim. In 2007, when visiting Maud Island, he saw the ranger's family running and jumping off the jetty and decided to join them. He paddled back to shore, shook himself off and seemed completely unworried by this event.

The kākāpō who thinks he's human

Sirocco caught a respiratory illness at three weeks old. Treating it meant he had to be hand-raised and kept away from other kākāpō and as a result became imprinted on humans - he doesn't know he's a bird, he thinks he's one of us.

He's still not interested in other kākāpō ; he doesn’t associate with them, and instead he booms in the presence of humans. On his island home he keeps watch on the rangers and any visiting children from local schools.

Sirocco on tour

Because kākāpō are so rare, it’s difficult to get an opportunity to see one.

Sirocco lets people connect with this rare and unusual species. He remains a wild bird, in that he does not live in captivity, but he has visited a few places in the last few years so people can see him. Follow Sirocco on Facebook and Twitter to find out about future tours.

Conservation superstar

His superstar status was elevated further in 2009 when the BBC series "Last Chance to See" featuring Stephen Fry and Mark Cawardine aired in the UK.

A YouTube clip of Sirocco getting ‘up close and personal’ with presenter Mark Cawardine has had over 6 million views!

Spokesbird for conservation

In 2010 Sirocco was officially recognised as a conservation ambassador by the Prime Minister John Key. Launching New Zealand’s involvement in the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 Mr Key named Sirocco the "Official Spokesbird for Conservation".

Mr Key commented on Sirocco's "worldwide fan base" who "hang on every squawk that comes out of his beak" and said Sirocco would focus attention on the plight of endangered species.

On the Conservation blog

  • Photo of the week: Sirocco the kākāpō
    To celebrate his 'hatch-day' today's photo of the week is everyone's favourite spokesbird, Sirocco the kākāpō.
  • Sirocco at Parliament
    The Kākāpō Recovery Programme turns 25 next year and, to celebrate, Sirocco the kākāpō—ambassador for his species and New Zealand's official Spokesbird for Conservation—partied at Parliament last night.
  • Superstar Sirocco’s Facebook milestone
    He’s better looking than Bieber, more charismatic than Clooney and he has some pretty hardcore admirers. Sirocco the kākāpō is our social media superstar and New Zealand’s Official Spokesbird for Conservation. Today he has reached an amazing milestone in his quest for world domination by reaching a massive 100,000 devoted fans on his Facebook page. This parrot is not just […]
  • Making Sirocco – The Film
    By Ashwika Kapur, Filmmaker I came to New Zealand in early 2013 to chase my childhood dream of obtaining a degree in Natural History Filmmaking so I could entertain and educate audiences through timeless wildlife stories from around the world. As part of my degree I had to make a film so I began scouting ideas, and among the […]

More blog posts about Sirocco


Sirocco gets a phyiscal 
In 2011 Donna Williams was lucky enough to spend some time with Sirocco and his minder Karin on Ulva Island. Donna got up close and personal with the cheeky kākāpō , and watched as Karin carried out his daily health check.

More Sirocco photos on Flickr

Sirocco. Image: Sabine Bernert.


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