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Happy 21st Birthday Sirocco

Friday 23 March 2018

Happy 21st Birthday Sirocco

21st birthday portrait image of Sirocco taken by DOC Ranger Jake Osborne in early February 2018 on his island home in Fiordland

Sirocco, the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) spokesbird kākāpō, celebrates his 21st ‘birthday’, officially known as his hatchday, today and DOC is encouraging others to join in his milestone birthday.

After a rough start to life 21 years ago with a respiratory illness that led him to imprint on humans as a chick, Sirocco is now world-famous, with an international fanbase, huge online following, celebrity interviews and a is a national treasure.

“As we would for a much-loved family member, we are celebrating Sirocco’s 21st hatchday by sharing our favourite moments, photos and videos of him and encouraging his fans to join in and wish him a happy hatchday,” says Kākāpō operations manager Deidre Vercoe.

“While there are just 149 birds left, the future is looking brighter for kākāpō, with an upcoming bumper breeding season predicted based on rimu fruit counts,” says Ms Vercoe.

While DOC and his fans may be celebrating, the guest of honour will be having, what is presumed, to be a quiet birthday. Earlier this year Sirocco came out of hiding after two years “off the grid” due to a failed transmitter. He is spending his hatchday in the safety of his predator free Fiordland island.

Sirocco was named New Zealand’s spokesbird for conservation after he shot to fame following an encounter with zoologist Mark Carwardine, who was filming a BBC documentary – Last Chance To See, with British actor Stephen Fry.

Since then, he’s been a famous advocate for kākāpō conservation, making occasional appearances at sites such as predator free sanctuaries around New Zealand.

With the 149 kākāpō in existence living on remote islands, opportunities to see kākāpō are very limited. Sirocco’s ease around people presents a unique opportunity for the public to get to see one of these incredible birds. His cheeky nature has made a big impact on those who meet him, and his story has helped introduce the world to kākāpō.

How to wish Sirocco a happy birthday

• Follow him online at or and use the hashtag #Sirocco21

How to Donate to the Kākāpō Recovery Programme
• By donating just $3 the Kākāpō Recovery Programme can achieve more for kākāpō
• Donate:


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