The kea is a cunning native parrot that is famous for ripping rubber seals in cars apart, as well as windscreen wipers. They are the world’s only alpine parrot, so you are likely to see these intelligent birds in mountainous environments in the South Island of New Zealand. They are commonly seen on the road to Milford Sound and Arthur’s Pass.
The endangered kea is the world’s only alpine parrot, and one of the most intelligent birds. The kea was crowned Bird of the Year in 2017.
The New Zealand kea is a protected species. Like many other native birds, kea suffer from predation by introduced mammals. Kea are also impacted by human activity.
The introduced predator the stoat is the primary predator of kea, and cats are also a major threat when cat populations make incursions into kea habitat. Kea are particularly vulnerable because they nest in holes in the ground that are easy to find and get in to.
They are a very inquisitive bird and with many trips to ski fields I have witnessed them coming so close to people that they eat out of their hands!