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kagu(kä`go͞o), common name for a long-legged, heronlike bird, Rhynochetos jubatus. It has a loose, gray plumage with darker bandings; broad, rounded wings marked with white, black, and red; and a striking orange-red bill and feet. About the size of domestic fowl, the kagu has a large head endowed with a long erectile topcrest. Once abundant on the islands of the Coral Sea, the shy, nocturnal kagu is now close to extinction, and may only be found in the remotest mountains of New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Like the dodododo,
a flightless forest-dwelling bird of Mauritius, extinct since the late 17th cent. The dodo was closely related to the Rodrigues solitaire, extinct flightless giant found on another island in the Mascarene Islands.
..... Click the link for more information. , the kagu suffered greatly from the ravages of domestic animals, especially pigs and dogs. A forest-floor dweller, it lives on a diet of insects and snails. It is practically flightless, but is a rapid runner with a curious manner of progress; it moves in short spurts, then stands motionless before moving on again. Its courtship behavior consists of a wild, skipping dance. The female lays a single, pale brown, rust-streaked egg, depositing it in a ground nest of leaves and twigs. Both sexes share in the incubation. Kagus are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gruiformes, family Rhynochetidae.
(Rhynochetos jubatus), a bird of the order Gruiformes;the sole representative of the suborder Rhynocheti. The kagu issomewhat larger than a chicken. Its plumage is light gray withdark stripes; the bill and legs are bright red. It is found in the mountain forests of the island of New Caledonia in an area not greater than 40 sq km. The bird nests on the ground; it lays one speckled egg. The incubation period is 36 days. The chick, whichis covered with dark brown speckled down, remains in the nestquite long. The kagu feeds on earthworms, terrestrial mollusks, and insects. It gets worms by plunging its bill into the ground(the nostrils are protected against the entry of earth by opercula).The few remaining kagu are on the brink of extinction owing tocapture for zoos, chopping down of forests, and burning of grasses. Pigs and rats brought to the island cause great harm tothe kagu.