Externally kagu somewhat reminiscent of a heron with its long red legs and plumage color (nevertheless, it has long been attributed to the Crane). This bird not only leads a land-based lifestyle, but generally does not use its wings “for its intended purpose”, although they, of course, help it to get through the forest thickets, and are also used for various demonstrations. Kagu rise into the air so reluctantly that the locals claim that they do not know how to fly. The size of the kagu is about the size of a domestic chicken and reaches a length of 55 cm and a weight of 700 to 1100 g. The plumage is unusually bright for forest litter, ash gray or almost white, with the male and female painted the same. On the head of the kagu there is a shaggy tuft, which in a calm state, the bird presses against the crown of the head, and in an excited, menacingly straightens. The nostrils on the kagu's beak are covered with special shields - which no other birds have - and this allows them to launch the beak deep into the ground in search of writing. These rare secretive birds feed on worms, mollusks, insects and their larvae, spiders and millipedes, but they can also eat small vertebrates, for example, lizards. Kagu's voice is also unusual - it looks like barking or a quiet hiss. Kagu are active at night, during the day they prefer to sit out in shelters.
These birds form permanent pairs, which last for many years, and protect the territory from 10 to 30 ha all year round. The kagu's nest is very simple and consists of a bunch of leaves. In the clutch they have only one egg, which the male and female incubate alternately for 33-37 days. In captivity, birds live on average 30 years, in nature for at least 15 years. Grown chicks can remain in the territory of their parents for a very long time, up to 6 years. They do not help parents incubate their eggs, but often participate in protecting their territory.
Threats to existence
Currently, birds have survived only in the mountain forests of the islands; on the plains, they have practically disappeared due to massive felling of trees. Kagu are threatened with extinction, in the main territory of their habitat - the province of Rivière Bleue - their population in 1998 totaled about 300 adults, and outside this region, estimates from 1991-1992 showed 491 birds.
One of the factors of a sharp decline in the kagu population is considered to be dogs, cats, rats and pigs introduced by humans that hunt birds or feed on their eggs. Kagu is recognized as a threatened species and is listed on the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.