ENDEMIC. COMMON. RESIDENT.
DISTRIBUTION: The only alpine parrot in the world, the Kea ranges from the upper fringes of beech forest to the highest mountain peaks throughout the South Island of New Zealand.
HABITAT: Alpine beech forest and high, open mountain areas. In the winter it will sometimes visit forests at lower altitudes during particularly harsh weather.
BREEDING: Kea build nests, which is unusual among parrots as they normally lay in hollow trees. These nests may be constructed over years. One Kea was recorded to have added to a nest for seven years even though the nest was never used. Eggs are laid from July to January and the female incubates her clutch of 2-3 eggs alone for about 24 days. The male, and sometimes other adults, help rear the chicks.
FOOD: Mostly leaves, roots, berries, nectar, insects and carrion. They may also take advantage of refuse dumps, ski fields, and other areas of human habitation.
VOICE: A penetrating drawn out 'Keeee-aaaa' which can be heard over considerable distances, and a variety of softer calls.
GENERAL: Mostly dark green but striking red under their wings. They are recognised as one of the cleverest birds in the world. A very inquisitive and gregarious bird often seen in flocks of four to fifteen. Larger flocks consist mainly of males. They are notorious mischief-makers, known for their destructiveness towards many man-made objects such as cars parked in the mountains. Current estimates put their remaining numbers at 5000.