KEA- NEW ZEALAND’S MOUNTAIN PARROT
Kea (Nestor Notabilis) are an endemic parrot of the South Island’s high country. They are a protected species. Although Kea are seen in reasonable numbers throughout the South Island, the size of the wild population is unknown but it is estimated at between 1,000 and 5,000 birds. Raucous cries of “keeaa” often give away the presence of these highly social and inquisitive birds however, the endearing and mischievous behaviour of the Kea can cause conflict with people.
To survive in the harsh alpine environment, Kea have become inquisitive and nomadic social birds. Their inquisitive natures often cause Kea to congregate around novel objects such as vehicles, and their strong beaks have enormous manipulative power.
Kea grow to 50cm long and although mainly vegetarian, Kea enjoy grubs and insects.
The Kea is related to the forest Kaka (Nestor Meridionalis) and is thought to have developed its own special characteristics during the last ice age by using its unusual powers of curiosity in its search for food in the harsh landscape.
Kea nests are usually found among boulders in high altitude forest where they lay between tow and four eggs during the breeding season from July to January.
Kea are rated as one of the most intelligent birds in the world. If you are intending to visit the alpine areas of the South Island, you will get to know the Kea well.