'Ghost of the Forest'


  • Generally gray and white; feathered
  • Short tails, red beaks, eyes, legs, and feet
  • About the size of a chicken, length of 22 in., wingspan of 32 in., weight of 1.5 - 2.5 lbs.
  • Communicate with loud, piercing, rattling chirps
  • Flightless bird
  • Have 'nasal corns' to cover their nostrils
  • Have crests on their heads to display to other members of species
(AVI, WIKI, BIR, GRZ p.350, WILD, ATL p.47)


  • Live only in the island of New Caledonia in Pacific Ocean
  • Many live in rain forests, drier lowland forests, and mountain forests
  • Live in nests on the ground
  • Mostly in wet, dry, and tropical climates


  • Nasal corns act as protective structures when hunting for food
  • Able to move quickly to flee from danger, or to catch food
  • Have quick abilities to snag prey
  • Great vision and hearing to find prey or predators
  • Active during day hunting, sleeping at night
(WILD, ATL p.47, ANI, GRZ p.351-352)

Food Chain

  • Eat creatures that live in the ground
  • Food found underground
  • Hunt beneath the soil for bugs, worms, snails, lizards, spiders, centipedes, grasshoppers, beetles
  • Predators are dogs, rats, pigs, and cats introduced to island by humans

Reasons For Endangerment

  • Forests on the island are being cleared for agriculture
  • Humans are killing them for food, or keep as pets
  • People are nickel mining in the areas
  • Habitat loss also from grazing of deer
  • Animals like dogs, pigs, rats, and cats are biggest threat - eat their eggs
(END, ATL p.48, WIKI, AVI)

Critical Information

  • In some parts of island, predators are being controlled
  • Listed as endangered under SCO (Societe Caledonienne d'Ornithologie- Birdlife in New Caledonia)
  • SCO made 10- year kagu plan, 2008
  • First step of plan is to improve knowledge of kagu
  • Organizations need funds to protect kagu: http://www.birdlife.org/community/donate/
  • Noumea Zoo is taking care
  • Now protected in New Caledonia with help of organizations and government
  • Found protected in Riviere Blue Park
(ATL p.48, INT, END, BIR)