"Ghost of the Forest": Kagu Bird of New Caledonia is a Near Flightless Bird that Uses its Wings Primarily for Territorial Displays

Found in the dense mountain forests of New Caledonia is an endangered bird species locally known as the "Ghost of the Forest" because of its unusual ash-white plumage — the crested, long-legged, Kagu bird. It is a ground-living bird that spends most of its time searching for its invertebrate prey or gathering sticks for its nest. If it's not doing those things, it could be incubating or rearing its chick. Because its wings lack musculature for flight, the Kagu is a nearly flightless bird. As such, its wings are mainly used for displays, but at times they are used to glide away from danger.

The Kagu is a bird of unique features. One is its "nasal corns" — structures on its nostrils presumed to prevent particles from entering the region when the bird probes the soil. Another unique feature of the Kagu bird is it has only one-third as many red blood cells as is usual in birds, but three times more hemoglobin per red blood cell. What a fascinating bird!

(Image Credit: WH Amazing Animals/ YouTube)

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