9 Oct 2009

Amorous kakapo proves a big hit

8:37 pm on 9 October 2009

A kakapo's vigorous attempt to mate with the back of a British television presenter's head has made the critically endangered green parrot an internet star.

Sirocco was being filmed in New Zealand as part of a BBC series on endangered animals.

The bird's encounter with zoologist Mark Carwardine's head and co-presenter Stephen Fry's delight at what unfolds has just been shown in the United Kingdom.

The footage has become the latest sensation on YouTube, with more than 700,000 viewings by Friday night.

The Department of Conservation Department says it's very pleased with the attention.

Spokesperson Nic Vallance told Checkpoint DoC has been inundated with queries from people in Britain wanting to help save the kakapo through donations and the department has set up a special account there.

Other queries have been about New Zealand and volunteer work.

Ms Vallance says the cheeky 12-year-old parrot was hand-reared as a chick in isolation and as a result has become extremely fond of humans.

"And sometimes he shows that fondness in quite obvious ways."

Ms Vallance says Sirocco hasn't shown any interest in other kakapo yet, as he considers himself to be human "which is why we had to give in to him and let him have a Facebook page and a Twitter account."