Mountain parrot, New Zealand mountain parrot
The kea (Nestor notabilis) is a species of large parrot in the family Nestoridae found in New Zealand. The kea is the world's only alpine parrot. Now uncommon, this mountain-dwelling bird was once killed for bounty due to concerns by the sheep-farming community that it attacked livestock, especially sheep. In 1986, it received full protection under the Wildlife Act.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
An omnivore is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and ani...
Scavengers are animals that consume dead organisms that have died from causes other than predation or have been killed by other predators. While sc...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Island endemic animals are found in a single defined geographic location, such as an island. Animals or organisms that are indigenous to a place ar...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
Flocking birds are those that tend to gather to forage or travel collectively. Avian flocks are typically associated with migration. Flocking also ...
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The kea has mostly olive-green plumage with a grey beak having a long, narrow, curved upper beak. The adult has dark-brown irises, and the cere, eyerings, and legs are grey. It has orange feathers on the undersides of its wings. The feathers on the sides of its face are dark olive brown, the feathers on its back and rump are orange-red, and some of the outer wings are dull blue. It has a short, broad, bluish-green tail with a black tip. Feather shafts project at the tip of the tail and the undersides of the inner tail feathers have yellow-orange transverse stripes. The male is about 5% longer than the female, and the male's upper beak is 12-14% longer than the female's. Juveniles generally resemble adults but have yellow eyerings and cere, an orange-yellow lower beak, and grey-yellow legs.
Kea are found only in the South Island of New Zealand. They live in river valleys and coastal forests of the South Island's west coast up to the alpine regions of the South Island such as Arthur's Pass and Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park. Throughout their range, kea prefer the southern beech forests in the alpine ridge.
Kea are highly gregarious birds that live in groups of up to 13 birds and forage in flocks of up to 20. They are diurnal. In the morning birds spend time foraging and during the middle of the day they prefer to rest; in the evening they come out to feed again and at night go back to their roosting sites on tree branches. Kea communicate with the help of various vocalizations, body postures, and displays. Their main call sounds as “keee-aa” and is usually heard when birds soar high in the sky. On the ground, kea communicate with soft murmurings and whistles.
Kea are omnivores and feed on more than 40 plant species, nuts, seeds, pollen, fruits, beetle larvae, insects, snails, other birds (including shearwater chicks), and mammals (including sheep and rabbits). They also scavenge and take advantage of human garbage and "gifts" of food.
Kea are considered monogamous and thought to mate for life; however, males have been reported to pair with more than one female. Nest sites are usually positioned on the ground underneath large beech trees among roots or in rock crevices. The cavities are accessed by tunnels leading back 1 to 6 meters (3.3 to 19.7 ft) into a larger chamber, which is furnished with lichens, moss, ferns, and rotting wood. The laying period starts in July and reaches into January. The female lays 2-5 white eggs and incubates them for around 21-30 days. She is fed by the male during this period. The chicks hatch altricial (helpless) and are fed by their parents until they are ready to leave the nest; this usually occurs at 12 weeks of age. At this time the young are fed by the male for up to 6 weeks until they become independent. They will then leave their family nest and travel in flocks until they reach reproductive maturity. When kea are 3-4 years old they are ready to breed; they leave their flock and settle down to form pairs for breeding.
Kea had a negative reputation for attacking sheep and as a result, have been heavily persecuted. It was intended that hunters would kill kea only on the farms and council areas that paid the bounty, but some hunted them in national parks and in Westland, where they were officially protected. More than 150,000 were killed in the hundred years before 1970 when the bounty was lifted. At present, kea are most vulnerable due to predation of chicks and females on nests by introduced predators; in particular stoats. These birds also suffer from poisoning, avian diseases, changes in climate, collisions with vehicles, and illegal pet trade.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total kea population size is around 6,000 individuals, including 4,000 mature individuals. According to the Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai resource, the total population size of this species is 3,000-7,000 individuals. Currently, kea are classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are decreasing.
Social animals are those animals that interact highly with other animals, usually of their own species (conspecifics), to the point of having a rec...