[38] In August 1992, however, its nocturnal assaults were captured on video,[6][39] proving that at least some kea will attack and feed on healthy sheep. The kea is the world’s only mountain-dwelling parrot and also one of the most intelligent species of bird known for their playfulness and novelty-seeking nature. A former curator of Natural History at Whanganui Regional Museum, Dr Mike Dickison, told North & South magazine in the October 2018 issue that the birds would do well on Mt Ruapehu. [36] Despite substantial anecdotal evidence of these attacks,[3][37] others remained unconvinced, especially in later years. Available for everyone, funded by readers. OR SIGN IN USING OTP That is really rare, and it is that inquisitive nature that is getting them into trouble because a lot of the ways humans interact with them is endangering their survival.”. [37] There are also suggestions that Kea used to feed on Moa in a similar way.[39]. [32] The median lifespan of a wild subadult kea has been estimated at five years, based on the proportion of kea seen again in successive seasons in Arthur's Pass, and allowing for some emigration to surrounding areas. [17] The male is about 5% longer than the female, and the male's upper beak is 12–14% longer than the female's. For example, in the late 1990s, a Fox Glacier resident killed 33 kea in the glacier car park[45] and in 2008, two kea were shot in Arthur's Pass and stapled to a sign. “We can educate people about how to behave responsibly with kea, and we can enclose protected environments, but the lead poisoning is hard,” said Josh Kemp, a kea expert at New Zealand’s department of conservation. Sheep suffering from unusual wounds on their sides or loins were noticed by the mid-1860s, within a decade of sheep farmers moving into the high country. The kea (/ˈkiːə/; Māori: [kɛ.a]; Nestor notabilis) is a species of large parrot in the family Nestoridae[2] found in the forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. The Kea – Photographing The World’s Only Alpine Parrot While photographing the South Island of New Zealand I became fascinated with the kea. If the recorded kea are banded, it is possible to match up observations with individual named birds, enabling the monitoring of the habits and behaviour of individual kea. The kea was crowned Bird of the Year in 2017. Recent studies from the Kea Conservation Trust have found two-thirds of all chicks never reach fledgling stage, as their nests are ground-dwelling and they are eaten by stoats, rats and possums (which the NZ government has pledged to exterminate by 2050). Around 10% of the local kea population were expected to be over 20 years of age. Kea can solve logical puzzles, such as pushing and pulling things in a certain order to get to food, and will work together to achieve a certain objective. Innately curious, kea are attracted to people wherever they enter its mountain domain, and are a feature at South Island ski-fields and mountain huts. They were believed by the Waitaha tribe to be kaitiaki (guardians).[46]. Its omnivorous diet includes carrion, but consists mainly of roots, leaves, berries, nectar, and insects. All rights reserved. [63], The only living parrot that lives in alpine habitats, Orange feathers can be seen under the wing during flight, Gould, J. This highly intelligent bird is the world’s only alpine parrot. Your parrot’s wings function as an airfoil, or aerofoil. Kea are the protagonists in New Zealand author Philip Temple's novels Beak of the Moon (1981) and Dark of the Moon (1993), recounting respectively the first encounters of a group of kea with humans at the time of the colonisation of the South Island by Māori, and their life in present-day, human-dominated New Zealand. [56], The 1080 pesticide is used to control invasive pest mammals such as stoats and possums and has also been implicated in kea deaths. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. It is the only truly alpine parrot in the world, and gained early notoriety among settler farmers for attacks on their sheep. Nest sites are usually positioned on the ground underneath large beech trees, in rock crevices, or dug burrows between roots. They are extremely opportunistic and I knew their behaviour would be fun to photograph. [6][27] It has been observed breaking open shearwater nests to feed on the chicks after hearing the chicks in their nests. The Kea – Photographing The World’s Only Alpine Parrot. [11][12][14][15], The kea is a large parrot about 48 cm (19 in) long and weighs between 800 grams (1.8 lb) and 1 kilogram (2.2 lb). [9] The common name kea is from Māori, probably an onomatopoeic representation of their in-flight call – ‘keee aaa’. (1856). The effects of lead poisoning on the birds were disastrous, and include brain damage and death. The Smarter Parrot. The kea was described by ornithologist John Gould in 1856. The kea featured on the reverse side of the New Zealand $10 note between 1967 and 1992, when it was replaced with the whio. the more investigative behaviours identified in a bird the higher its blood lead levels were likely to be. [8] Its specific epithet, the Latin term notabilis, means "noteworthy". [28], In one study, nest sites occur at a density of one per 4.4 square kilometres (1.7 sq mi). (, pushing and pulling things in a certain order, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22684831A93048746.en, "A revised nomenclature and classification for family-group taxa of parrots (Psittaciformes)", "Notes on the Flesh-eating Propensity of the Kea (, "A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous", "Sexual Dimorphism in the Kea Nestor notabilis", "First North Island fossil record of kea, and morphological and morphometric comparison of kea and kaka", "Population Estimates of kea in Arthur's Pass National Park", "Note on the lasting responsiveness of a kea, Birds of open country – kea digging out a shearwater chick, Reeves, William Pember (Minister of Education), "Notes on the Natural History of the Kea, with Special Reference to its Reputed Sheep-killing Propensities", "Dead kea dumped at Arthur's Pass were shot", "New Zealand Birds | Collective Nouns for birds (the K's)", "Possums take toll on kea at Nelson Lakes", "Kea (Nestor notabilis) Captive Management Plan and Husbandry Manual", "Lead exposure in free-ranging Kea (Nestor Notabilis), Takahe (Porphyrio Hochstetteri) and Australasian Harriers (Circus Approximans) in New Zealand", "DOC reviews 1080 use after endangered kea die", "Kea 'gangs' breaking into Doc predator control traps", "Kea|Nestor Notabilis|Kea Conservation Trust NZ", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kea&oldid=990304782, Articles with dead external links from August 2019, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with dead external links from May 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 November 2020, at 23:27.

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