Family Kagu (Rhynochetidae)


Kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus)


French: Kagou huppé German: Kagu Spanish: Kagú
Other common names: Cagou

Rhynochetos jubatus

J. P. Verreaux and Des Murs

, 1860,

New Caledonia


Relationships unclear. Monotypic.


New Caledonia.

Descriptive notes

55 cm; 800–1100 g; mean wingspan 86 cm. Flightless, but wings appear full-sized. Distinctive ash-grey and white plumage, with contrasting longish orange-red bill and... read more


Loud song that carries up to 1 km. Male produces series of very soft, deep notes, rendered "ko... read more


Native forests, and occasionally damper and taller shrubland, from sea-level up to mountain summits... read more

Food and feeding

Eats wide range of soil and litter prey, especially millipedes, snails, beetles, lizards and worms. Tiny stones and earth found in stomach... read more


Pairs monogamous, breeding on permanent territories of c. 20 ha (range 10–28 ha). Main nesting period at low altitude Jun–Aug,... read more


Established pairs generally sedentary; some overlap of foraging areas between pairs, but generally... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES I. Drastic decline since European arrival on New Caledonia. Range now very small (1,300 km2) and extremely fragmented. Species now restricted mostly to... read more

Recommended citation

Hunt, G.R., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2020).