The endangered kagu is the only bird in the world with nasal corns!
Kagu Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Rhynochetos jubatus
Kagu Physical Characteristics
Grey, Blue
Fewer than 2000, with between 250 and 999 mature individuals
20 to 30 years
25 to 39 ounces
Kagu Distribition

The endangered kagu is the only bird on the planet with nasal corns!

Kagus are native to the primary island of New Caledonia. They are the just living species in their family, and among just 2 species in the Eurypygiformes order. They are flightless, meat-eating birds that survive on the woodland flooring and forage in the damp, thick ground cover for food. With light blue- grey plumes and intense, red- orange legs and costs, these birds do not appear like one could anticipate a ground- residence bird of the woodland to show up. Although they can not fly, they can run, leap and move to attempt to avert predators, and they are understood to increase their expensive crests, spread their wings and dancing in circles with possible friends or around their competitors. The kagu is endangered, yet preservation initiatives are underway to conserve their population.

Amazing Kagu Realities

  • Kagus are just located on the primary island of New Caledonia.
  • This bird is endangered with less than 1,000 fully grown people.
  • Kagus are usually considered adorable birds.
  • When kagus strut, they look a little bit like a cross in between a cockatoo and a penguin.
  • These birds are so loud their early morning duets are called shrieking obstacles.
  • Kagus are virginal and most likely friend forever, yet they appreciate their privacy when it is not reproducing period.
  • Young kagus might remain with their moms and dads approximately 6 years, assisting to protect more youthful children.
  • Dogs are one of the most harmful predators of kagus.

Where to Locate Kagu s

The kagu is located in just one position on Planet. It is native to Grande Terre, the primary island of New Caledonia in the Pacific Sea. At simply over 6300 square miles, this island is approximately the very same dimension as the Oklahoma City city. Nevertheless, kagus inhabit just a tiny section of the island, and their variety is extremely fragmented. The birds do not move, and no proof of their presence has actually been located anywhere else, although a similar extinct species, Rhynochetos orarius, was located on neighboring islands.

Kagus stay in the tropical rain forest or in the lowland woodlands and shrublands where it is drier. They invest a lot of their time near rocks and origins, where they can forage conveniently for food amongst the ground cover on the woodland flooring. They often tend to look for sanctuary and typically conceal their young under tree origins or snuggled in imprints in dust financial institutions.

Kagu Nests

This bird does not most likely to much problem making its nests. A kagu nest might appear like absolutely nothing greater than an arbitrary heap of fallen leaves on the ground. In an earthbound environment where fallen leaves are so plentiful, this is absolutely a practical technique of constructing a nest.

Scientific Name

The kagu’s scientific name is Rhynochetos jubatus Jubatus stems from a Latin acceptation crested. Rhynochetos is a word of Greek beginning, integrating the prefix rhyn-, which describes nose, with the suffix -ochetos, which suggests network or air duct. This name describes the bird’s nostrils which are covered with flaps called nasal corns, that nothing else bird on the planet has.

The taxonomy of the kagu has actually referred opinion for several years. It belonged of the freely linked Gruiformes order, which contains crane- like birds organized by physical resemblances, for a very long time. Nevertheless, ornithologists objected to the incorporation of a variety of birds because order nearly given that the moment it was initially called. The kagu, together with another bird, the sunbittern, were transferred to their very own order, Eurypygiformes, in the 1980s. Within that order, the kagu is the just living species in its family, Rhynochetidae.

Kagu Appearance

Kagus do not look like one would certainly anticipate a bird that survives on the woodland flooring to show up. They are the lightest grey with simply a tip of blue. Kagus have a high crest of plumes, evocative a cockatoo, that they can increase when intimidated, throughout breeding screens or various other times at will. They additionally have dark and light red stripes encountering their wings, vertical to their bodies. The kagu’s plumes have a somewhat cosy appearance, and the birds have actually unique plumes called powder downs, which generate powder that aids to maintain the bird completely dry.

Their intense red- orange legs stand apart in sharp comparison to their quill. The kagu’s red eyes stand out in appearance and apparently assist them see much better in the dark light of the woodland. Kagus have long, aimed costs that are additionally red- orange, with corns that cover the nostrils and assist stop dust and particles from entering.

kagu with orange flowers in background
The Kagu utilizes its beak to discover insects and invertebrates in the ground.iStock.com/ NataliaVo

Juveniles are similar in appearance to grownups, besides their coloring. Their quill is a mix of light and dark brownish, allowing them to camouflage much better in their setting.


Kagus are approximately the dimension of a chicken, yet they have an appearance extra very closely matching that of a tiny heron or egret. They expand to roughly 22 inches in elevation and have a wingspan around 30 to 32 inches. Their weight varies from around 1.5 to 2.4 extra pounds.

Kagu Actions

Kagus are flightless birds. They invest their lives on the woodland flooring, looking for food amongst the ground cover and the rocks and origins. The birds are most energetic throughout the day, and perch on reduced branches, tree trunks, creeping plants, origins, and rocks when they are not foraging. They are quick on their feet and will certainly leap over challenges and move below steps like a parkour jogger to avert predators.

These birds take part in showing off with their crests lifted and their wings held back and out. This actions prevails throughout courtship and when coming across a competitor. It is paired with a dancing, kipping down circle each other prior to showing off away, with each other or in contrary instructions. Kagus can be rather hostile in safeguarding their area yet are or else instead accommodating birds. If caught, they will certainly flap and follower their extremely formed wings and increase their crest, probably to puzzle the pursuer enough time to make a getaway. In some cases moms and dads will certainly phony an injury to tempt predators far from their nest.

Among one of the most significant habits of the kagu is their early morning routine. Everyday throughout reproducing period, and a lot of the remainder of the year too, the woodlands of New Caledonia come to life each early morning with the audio of kagus. Sets increase their voices in tune, dueting with each other in what some have actually called a “shrieking difficulty” that lasts roughly 15 mins and can be listened to for miles. Males are extra singing than females. The loud kagu calls seem a whole lot like a cross in between a rooster and a tool sized terrier, while softer phone calls might seem like hisses or cackles.


Kagus dig in ground cover and in between rocks and under origins to discover their food. Their lengthy beaks are necessary to their foraging routines and the nasal corns assist maintain them from breathing in dust and particles as they search. The kagu’s preferred foods consist of snails, worms, and lizards. They additionally eat insect larvae, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and insects such as roaches, beetles, crickets, and real bugs. They additionally periodically eat fruit.

When searching, the kagu depends on one leg and stays extremely still, often for extended periods of time. It waits patiently, after that strikes with accuracy, recording its target. These creative birds can utilize their expense to shred food and remove simply the delicious little bits.

Kagu Reproduction

Kagus are virginal birds, yet live mainly singular lives. Sets will certainly protect their nests and their area with each other and they might mate forever. They stay in a clan- based social device with one female and one to 3 reproducing males, plus extra male children that function as protectors. Females generate one chick each year.

The kagu nest is no view to lay eyes on. Actually, it is little bit greater than a loosened heap of fallen leaves on the ground. The males and females of kagu sets take transforms nurturing the solitary egg for a bit greater than 1 month.

After kagu chicks hatch out, they leave the nest to stray about in just 3 days. Nevertheless, it remains nearby and oversleeps the nest for 6 weeks, and near its moms and dads for 8 to 10 weeks. Young kagus are fed by their moms and dads till they are fourteen weeks old, when they ultimately get to self-reliance. Yet they still remain close by, aiding their moms and dads protect more youthful children, till they depend on 6 years of ages. Kagus are so family oriented, they have actually also been understood to embrace orphaned chicks.

Predators & Threats

The kagu is native to the primary island of New Caledonia. It developed on a spot of land in the sea without anypredators Sadly, animal predators consisting of dogs, cats, pigs and rats were all presented to the island with time. Today, these predators are the best risk to the endangered kagu.

An additional risk the kagu deals with is environment deterioration. The primary island is tiny, yet just a little section has the type of thick woodland that kagus choose. Much of their previous environment has actually been removed for ranching and mining.

Yves Letocart, a preservationist in New Caledonia, acknowledged the alarming scenario of the kagu in the 1970s. Back then the population had actually gone down to less than 100 birds. In the very early 1980s, he started a restricted reproduction program and started to remove roaming dogs that were residing in Parc Provincial Rivière Bleue, a protect for the endangered kagu. Numbers started to rebound, yet the recuperation was sluggish. This was partially because of the reduced hatchling price of the kagu, and even more to the devastation dealt by dogs.

Life-span of the Kagu

Kagus can meet 20 to three decades in the wild if they are not consumed or otherwise sent off too soon. Presently, the population of kagus is approximated at less than 1,000 fully grown people, and they are provided as endangered on the IUCN Red Checklist of Intimidated Species.

There are 5 or less well-known subpopulations in New Caledonia. The biggest population, in Parc des Grandes Fougères, had actually phoned number greater than 1,000 in 2017. However it shed 75 percent of its family members in a solitary period that year to assaults by 2 roaming dogs. The following biggest population in Parc Provincial Rivière Bleue was roughly 500 in 2007, yet progressively decreased over the following 5 years. Similarly, populaces outside the maintains have actually experienced stable decrease in recent times.

The Kagu in New Caledonian Society

The kagu is referred to as the “ghost of the woodland” by the native Kanak individuals of New Caledonia. They integrated the kagu’s phone calls right into their battle dancings. They additionally pursued the birds for their meat and utilized their plumes in ritualistic gown. Outsiders in the 1800s additionally pursued the birds nearly to termination for their important plumes utilized in haute couture.

Today, the kagu is the nationwide bird of New Caledonia and is a crucial sign in the country’s society. It has actually shown up on New Caledonian cash, on shipping stamps, and on federal government records. For a very long time, its telephone call might be listened to nighttime on the nationwide tv terminal as the program day finished. Although much job should be done to support the population of the kagu, most individuals of New Caledonia appear to sustain preservation initiatives for this precious bird.

Similar Animals

  • Green Heron – This tiny heron is located on the island of Hawaii and various other components of North and Central America.
  • Egret – Various species of egrets live around the globe. Like the kagu, several of these birds have actually been negatively impacted by the plume profession.
  • Whooping Crane – This endangered crane is located in The United States and Canada. Like the kagu, the whooping crane is understood for its loud telephone call.


  1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Available here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Rhynocheti
  2. San Diego Zoo, Available here: https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/kagu
  3. Paul Tolme’, Available here: https://www.nwf.org/Magazines/National-Wildlife/2003/Gray-Ghosts-of-the-Cloud-Forest
  4. Xeno-canto, Available here: https://xeno-canto.org/species/Rhynochetos-jubatus?dir=0&order=elev&view=2
  5. IUCN Red List, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22692211/156666402

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