Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Eurypygiformes > Rhynochetidae > Rhynochetos > Rhynochetos jubatus

Rhynochetos jubatus (Kagu)

Wikipedia Abstract

The kagu or cagou (Rhynochetos jubatus) is a crested, long-legged, and bluish-grey bird endemic to the dense mountain forests of New Caledonia. It is the only surviving member of the genus Rhynochetos and the family Rhynochetidae, although a second species has been described from the fossil record. Measuring 55 cm (22 in) in length, it has pale grey plumage and bright red legs. Its 'nasal corns' are a unique feature not shared with any other bird. Almost flightless, it spends its time on or near the ground, where it hunts its invertebrate prey, and builds a nest of sticks on the forest floor. Both parents share incubation of a single egg, as well as rearing the chick. It has proven vulnerable to introduced predators, and is threatened with extinction.
View Wikipedia Record: Rhynochetos jubatus

Endangered Species

Status: Endangered
View IUCN Record: Rhynochetos jubatus

EDGE Analysis

The Kagu is a highly unusual, almost flightless bird, which due to its startling ash-white plumage, is known locally as the ‘ghost of the forest’. The only representative of an entire taxonomic family, the Kagu resembles something between a small heron and a rail. It has a large crest, long legs, a peculiar ‘bark’, which can be heard over a mile away. It is endemic to Grand Terre, the largest island of New Caledonia and has been adopted as the national emblem. Sadly, following predation by dogs and habitat loss the Kagu is now listed as Endangered. The Kagu experienced a decline in numbers during the 1900s primarily due to predation by invasive species. Domestic dogs have historically been the main threat to the species along with cats and pigs.
Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 55.3819
EDGE Score: 6.11159
View EDGE Record: Rhynochetos jubatus


Adult Weight [1]  1.947 lbs (883 g)
Birth Weight [2]  50 grams
Diet [3]  Carnivore (Invertebrates), Carnivore (Vertebrates)
Diet - Ectothermic [3]  30 %
Diet - Invertibrates [3]  40 %
Diet - Scavenger [3]  30 %
Forages - Ground [3]  100 %
Clutch Size [2]  1
Incubation [2]  35 days
Maximum Longevity [2]  31 years
Wing Span [2]  34 inches (.86 m)


Name Countries Ecozone Biome Species Report Climate Land
New Caledonia rain forests France Australasia Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Important Bird Areas

Biodiversity Hotspots

Name Location Endemic Species Website
New Caledonia New Caledonia Yes

Emblem of

New Caledonia


Parasitized by 
Cagourakis dorsalata <Unverified Name>[4]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)



External References



Attributes / relations provided by
1Ecology and Conservation of the Kagu Rhynochetos jubatus of New Caledonia, Gavin Raymond Hunt, 1997, Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology at Massey University
2del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
3Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
4Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
Biodiversity Hotspots provided by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License