Kea Birds – All the pieces You Have to Know


How would you’re feeling if kea birds fearlessly took your gears away or attacked your sheep within the alpine area of New Zealand?

Keas are notorious for his or her naughty and damaging character, incomes them the title “Clown of the Alps.”

As a consequence of their damaging tendencies, they encountered battle with human settlers, resulting in the demise of 150,000 keas. However there’s a lot extra to Kea parrots than simply being mischievous.

On this information, we’ll introduce you to kea mountain parrot’s world and share their:

  • Intelligence that rivals monkeys and apes
  • logical pondering and unbelievable expertise in utilizing their zygodactyl ft as a instrument
  • the rationale behind their tendency to eat rubbers
  • and favourite spots in the event you want to behold these alpine parrots

We’re additionally going to disclose why the Keas, the one alpine parrot on the planet, prey on sheep!

However earlier than that, right here’s a fast overview of the kea alpine parrot’s bodily traits and distinguishing qualities.

Kea Birds Species Overview

Scientific Title: Nestor notabilis
Measurement: 46 – 50 cm
Weight: 870 g
Lifespan: 5 to twenty years
Weight-reduction plan: Omnivores
Speaking Skills: Can’t discuss or mimic human speech
Habitat:   Mountain forests

Flying Kea Bird

Introducing Kea Birds – The World’s Solely Alpine Parrot

Kea birds are giant parrots with olive-emerald inexperienced edged plumage and a hidden black and shiny orange with yellow and black feathers on the underside of their wings. 

You’ll witness the bursting visible deal with as soon as they fly, however the orange feathers are additionally seen within the UV spectrum. 

You might also discover royal blue keas with crimson/orange on the rump or tail feathers. 

Kea parrots are zygodactyl, that means they’ve 4 toes on every foot: two-point ahead whereas the opposite two factors backward. 

This toe construction permits kea birds to control objects and transfer round shortly. 

Keas’ beak is lengthy and curved, measuring round 4.5-5 cm in males and common at 4-4.5 cm in females. 

They use their beaks to dig grubs from rotten logs and choose roots from the bottom. 

New zealand parrot kea's habitat

Origin and Pure Habitat: The place Are Kea Parrots Discovered?

The kea parrots are native to the South Island of New Zealand’s alpine area. Their favourite nesting spot is the beech forests at sea degree on South Island’s West Coast and mountain forests within the Southern Alps.

However they may also be discovered within the mountains as far east as Kaikoura. 

Speaking Skills – Can a Kea Fowl Discuss?

The kea mountain parrots will not be often called talkers however can produce numerous sounds. These birds could make a whining sound and squeal relying on the message they need to relay to one another. 

Regardless of their lack of talking and mimicking talents, these birds are intelligent and have a top-notch degree of intelligence. 

Kea Fowl’s Intelligence

The Institute of Cognitive Biology in Vienna claims that the New Zealand Kea is the smartest chicken on the planet, with intelligence similar to that of a monkey.

Kea Parrots are infamous for his or her ravenous (and damaging) inquisitiveness on the South Island climbing trails.

Regardless of their poor conduct, these intelligent birds are gifted with problem-solving abilities and intelligence on par with a four-year-old baby. 

They’ll resolve logic puzzles, take away bin lids, and open sliding doorways.

One kea even found that by bringing a chunk of firewood to a trekking hut day by day and knocking on the door, it could obtain meals in return.

Kea alpine parrot personality

Kea Birds’ Character and Conduct

These curious birds are unafraid of people. They’re recognized for his or her curious and playful conduct. 

Kea Alpine parrots usually chase one another within the air and do spiral loops and different tips. 

However they are often damaging and fearless in annoying individuals too. As a consequence of their inquisitive nature, they usually play with and strip rubbers out of the automobiles and something that isn’t bolted or welded down.

They’re additionally notorious for stealing from vacationers day and evening and rolling stoners down the metallic roof of excessive nation huts. 

However they don’t cease there!

Naughty keas additionally throw rocks at vacationers and break into homes by cat doorways, raid rubbish, and chew antennas off.

Additionally they like to grab wallets, passports, and something they will get with their hooked invoice and stable claws and even rip holes in tents.

So the nickname “naughty alpine parrot” is so becoming for them. 

Kea parrot Breeding Behavior

Kea Fowl’s Breeding Conduct and Replica

Like individuals, kea parrots kind pair bonds consisting of a male and a feminine and maintain a territory or an space the place they will stay. It measures round 4 sq. kilometers, and no different kea pairs can stay in it. 

However they will share it with their chicks and grownup males who might come to go to for some time. 

These birds can breed every year and mate for all times. 

Feminine kea parrots can lay 2 to five eggs per yr in a burrow deep within the floor, normally underneath beech tree roots or a big rock outcrop. 

If possums and stoats discover the eggs and eat them, the feminine kea will lay one other clutch of eggs if it’s not too late within the season. 

The pair will then cowl their nest with feathers, softwood chips, and dry moss and lichen to guard and hold the eggs heat. 

Through the feminine’s egg incubation interval within the winter or spring, the male will present meals for her for one month. And when the eggs hatch, the male will search for extra meals for his chicks, his pair, and himself. 

It may be difficult for them, particularly if it’s snowing outdoors. However the mom may even hunt for meals when the chicks are already able to holding themselves heat.

Kea mountain parrots’ egg laying season is from July to October, and their eggs hatch out after 4 weeks. And it’ll then take 12 weeks earlier than chicks can go away the nest. 

Kea Fowl Lifespan

Now we’re right down to probably the most thrilling questions. How lengthy do keas stay for?

Kea parrots within the wild have a mean lifespan of 5 years, however these in captivity can stay as much as 50 years or extra. 

Nevertheless, the oldest recognized age for a wild kea is 20 years.

One of many elements that shorten their lifespan within the wild is predators. Let’s discuss their widespread enemies and see how they survive within the wild. 

Kea mountain parrot

Kea Birds Predators and Threats

New Zealand parrot kea is a protected species, however like another native birds, additionally they endure from predator assaults.

Their main predators are stoats and cats that raid their habitat. Possums threaten kea birds, too, since they disturb their nest and prey on their eggs. 

Since keas nest in holes within the floor, they’re simple to search out and assault. 

Many keas additionally die after they fall into possum traps and poison baits used to manage predators. 

Due to predator management measures and aerial 1080 remedy, round 70% of kea nests are profitable.

With out pest management, the success price falls to 40%. 

However sadly, some keas die after they unintentionally eat 1080 cereal baits. 

Keas are additionally at a excessive threat of pest management and accidents involving man-made objects like automobiles. 

Moreover, these birds usually get tempted to style lead nails from buildings and flashings as a result of they discover them candy. 

Nevertheless, it outcomes to guide poisoning killing many kea birds.

As a consequence of their mischievous conduct and tendency to break property in campsites and automotive parks, some keas are being shot even when it’s unlawful.

Bounty searching of kea was additionally widespread to guard sheep from kea assaults till it was granted full safety in 1986. 

However why do they assault sheep?

Kea Parrots Preying on Sheep

New Zealand’s alpine parrot had lengthy been inhabiting the South Island when the sheep farmers got here into the world.

Rumores of farmers discovering their sheep wounded by keas on their sides started to emerge. However it wasn’t confirmed true till Kea’s nocturnal assault was captured on a video in 1992.

In keeping with scientists, some Kea parrots—however not all—use their lengthy, curved beaks and claws to tear by wool and feed on sheep’s fats from its again.

However why do these birds prey on sheep?

Kea birds are inclined to eat sheep fats to outlive chilly climates after they not often discover meals. These birds don’t kill the sheep, however there’s a excessive probability that the sheep will die on account of an infection attributable to the damage.

Widespread Well being Problems with Kea Birds

Kea parrots are usually wholesome, however they’re liable to growing Psittacine beak and feather illness (or PBFD) attributable to Circovirus that impacts many parrots. 

It’s extremely contagious that spreads by direct contact with contaminated birds and their feather, mud, and feces and contaminated nesting supplies and roosting holes.

This illness causes long-term immunological suppression and feather and beak abnormalities. 

They’re additionally vulnerable to avian influenza or chicken flu and lead poisoning, which causes weak point, lack of urge for food, altered psychological exercise, leg paralysis, and tremors. 

Kea Birds’ Conservation Standing

In keeping with the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN), kea parrots at the moment are “endangered.” 

The best variety of deaths is attributable to direct human persecution on account of their damaging and investigative conduct. 

Many sheep have died on account of infections attributable to kea assaults, which triggered a rift battle between kea parrots and sheep farmers.  

It resulted in a authorized authorities bounty within the late 1860s, which triggered the demise of round 150,000 keas. That’s why keas’ inhabitants solely averages at 5,000 throughout an space of three.5 million hectares. 

Kea parrot for sale

The place to Discover Kea Parrot For Sale?

You could be questioning the place to buy a mountain parrot kea, however the true query is can you purchase one. 

So, Can You Purchase a Kea Parrot?

Since they’re nationally endangered, holding them as pets is unlawful. 

You could not often discover a kea parrot pet, but there are some keas purposely saved by organizations that goal to preserve their species. 

The place Can I See a Kea Fowl?

Keas are sometimes noticed at South Island ski fields and Mount Aspiring Nationwide Park. If you wish to see a Kea, listed below are different prime spots you need to go to.

Arthur’s Cross

Kea is often noticed within the village of Arthur’s Cross at nightfall. Avalanche Peak to Scotts Observe is a unbelievable spot to see kea of their pure habitat, particularly alongside the tree line. Round 8 kilometers west of Arthur’s Cross Village, on the viaduct lookout (also called Deaths Nook), younger keas with yellow rings round their eyes and nostril often congregate.

You’ll be able to drive from Christchurch or take the TranzAlpine practice to get there.

Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound

Homer Tunnel on New Zealand’s Milford Street is an engineering marvel that gives entry to the breathtaking Milford Sound. 

Milford Sound is eighteen km (11 mi), and Te Anau is 100 km (62 mi) away from the tunnel. There are roughly 270 km (167 mi) from Queenstown and 390 km (240 mi) from Dunedin (242 mi). 

On state Freeway 94, as you strategy the Jap Aspect of the Tunnel, there’s a place the place you may cease and snap photos. And it’s right here the place you may meet one among New Zealand’s endemic kea parrots.

Professionals and Cons of Kea Birds

The kea mountain parrots are entertaining feathery creatures. They’ll delight you with their aerial tips and quirky acts. On prime of that, they’re sensible and intelligent birds with wonderful problem-solving abilities.

There are lots of extra wonders ready to be found about keas’ intelligence. However one factor is for positive: they’re quick learners and simple to coach.

However on account of their damaging tendencies and naughty character, some sheep farmers and vacationers discovered them annoying and undesirable.


  • Clever
  • Humorous and quirky
  • Distinctive feather sample
  • Hardy birds


  • Naughty character
  • Harmful tendencies
  • Some assault sheep to outlive

Flying kea

Continuously Requested Questions About Kea Birds

Is the kea the neatest chicken?

In keeping with the Institute of Cognitive Biology in Vienna, New Zealand’s Kea has not too long ago been heralded and enlisted because the world’s smartest chicken among the many prime ten clever birds. Its intelligence degree is on par with a monkey, and its brain-to-body weight ratio is just like nice apes and cetaceans.

Are kea birds uncommon?

New Zealand’s remaining kea birds are estimated to be round 3000 to 7000, which explains why this uncommon species was declared nationally endangered. 

How massive is a kea chicken?

Alpine parrot kea is a big parrot with a complete size of round 46 to 50cm and a mean weight of 870 grams.

Do keas sleep at evening?

The kea alpine parrot is semi-nocturnal. That explains why they’re vigorous and energetic at evening, particularly throughout summer time. They’re pretty hardy.

Subsequently, they will tolerate and face up to various temperatures. 

Why do keas eat rubber?

Keas are sensible sufficient to know that if touring people refuse to offer them meals, the meals might have remained on their automobile. 

That’s why they struggle to determine the best way to get inside and as they discover, they have an inclination to play with and rip rubber elements. 

What’s the distinction between kea and a Kaka?

Kaka birds are smaller, and so they characteristic olive-brown plumage with shades of crimson plus a whitish crown, whereas keas are olive-emerald inexperienced with orange underwings and rump.

Moreover, New Zealand’s kaka excavates the wooden of stay timber, however keas don’t. 

Are kea birds extinct?

The Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed kea parrots as an “endangered” species. Subsequently, it’s liable to extinction, however there are nonetheless round 5,000 keas at present. 

Kea parrot eating

Closing Ideas About Kea Birds

Kea birds are the rising stars within the intelligence division of feathery creatures.

They’re intelligent, fast learners, and innately curious. So, they prefer to play with and steal stuff from vacationers.

When you occur to search out them, kindly guarantee your automotive is closed and locked, safe the keys, and shut your luggage to stop them from snatching your belongings.

You’re free to take photographs of those kea birds so long as you’re not too near them or holding visitors up.

However keep away from feeding them or driving them off after they’re in your automotive’s roof. In any other case, keas might fall and break their fragile bones.

By taking these precautionary measures, you’re saving your self from stress and serving to them survive and thrive.

Since kea birds will not be appropriate as pets, right here’s a superb pet possibility for you if you need a intelligent pet chicken with the power to speak.

READ NEXT: African Gray Parrot – All the pieces You Have to Know About 



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