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Kea

 (Nestor notabilis)

Also known as: Mountain Parrot

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Keas wrestling
© Andrius Pasukonis

Did You Know?

Keas are so cheeky and curious about their surroundings that they will explore any new item that comes into their vicinity. They have been known to strip pieces off of cars in carparks, and dismantle tents in campgrounds!

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor notabilis

Species Profile

Genus: Nestor | Species: notabilis

Size:

48cm (18.7 in)

Weight:

900-1000g (31.5-35 oz)

Races including nominate:

one

Colourization Adult:

Male-large, olive/green parrot with obvious orange under its wings; lores and ear coverts dark olive/brown; orange/red back and rump; outer webs of primary feathers dull blue; undersides of primary feathers barred orange/yellow; dull blue/green tail, striped black just before tip with orange/yellow bars on inner webs of outside feathers.  Bill grey/brown and sharply projecting with elongated upper mandible. Eye dark brown, eye ring grey. Female- bill shorter, with less decurved upper mandible.

Colourization Juvenile:

As in adult but cere and eye ring yellow instead of grey; base of lower mandible orange/yellow.

Call:

Calls while in flight, distinctive, prolonged keeee-ahh on descending scale. Also softer, babbling notes.

Listen Now

Video Links:

Video 1 | Video 2 | Video 3

More Information:

Arkive
Animal Diversity Web

Content Sources:

Animal Diversity Web
CITES
BirdLife International
Internet Bird Collection
Arkive
ML Media Collection Catalogue 8524, Kea Nestor notabilis, Ward, Jean, South Island, New Zealand, Jan. 23 1968, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Site
Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World, Juniper and Parr, 1998
Parrots of the World, Forshaw and Cooper, 1989. 2010 edition
Parrots of the World, Forshaw, 2006.
Parrots in Aviculture, Low, 1992.

Click photo to visit gallery

Keas wrestling
© Andrius Pasukonis

Did You Know?

Keas are so cheeky and curious about their surroundings that they will explore any new item that comes into their vicinity. They have been known to strip pieces off of cars in carparks, and dismantle tents in campgrounds!

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor notabilis

Species Care

Captive Status:

Rare

Longevity:

14-20 years has been reported.

Housing:

Enclosure at least 5m (16.4 ft) square; also they spend a lot of time on the ground digging and playing, therefore a concrete floor is not recommended. A secure setting is essential!

Diet:

Spray millet, sprouted pulses and beans, cooked butterbeans and lentils, corn, green leaves of Swiss chard, lettuce, sowthistle, dandelion and chickweed; fresh vegetables such as: carrot, celery, zucchini, squash, green beans and peas in the pod; fresh fruit such as: apple, pear, orange, cactus fruits and bananas; whole vegetables such as beet, whole lettuce and cooked potatoes; cooked meat; cooked rice; complete kibble.

Enrichment:

Pool or overhead misters for bathing, dirt for digging and rolling around in, lots of bird-safe, unsprayed chewables (pine cones, fir, elder, willow and pine branches) and puzzle toys to dismantle. Also provide knotted vegetable tanned leather laced toys, as complex as possible.

Nest Box Size:

Large hollow tree trunk.

Clutch Size:

3 to 4

Incubation Time:

28 days

Fledging Age:

About 10 weeks

Hatch Weight:

Not available

Peak Weight:

Not available

Weaning Weight:

Not available

Specialist Club:

Parrot Society of New Zealand

Click photo to visit gallery

Keas wrestling
© Andrius Pasukonis

Did You Know?

Keas are so cheeky and curious about their surroundings that they will explore any new item that comes into their vicinity. They have been known to strip pieces off of cars in carparks, and dismantle tents in campgrounds!

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor notabilis

Species Wild Status

World Population:

5000

IUCN Red List Status:

Vulnerable

CITES Listing:

Appendix II

Threat Summary:

150,000 birds were shot as part of a bounty scheme, because of a few individuals found attacking sheep. Introduced mammals such as stoats, cats, and brush-tailed possums, and predation through these feral animals may be significant. Other species and pastoral farming practices may be depleting food sources.

Range:

Mountainous areas of South Island, New Zealand, from Fiordland north to Nelson and Marlborough Provinces.

Habitat:

Confined to native forest in steep side valleys principally from 600-3000m (1968-9840 ft). Also found around human settlements.

Wild Diet:

Feeds on Podocarpus fruits, seeds and nectar; also insect larvae.

Ecology and Behaviour:

Active in early morning and late afternoon; often are heard before being seen in the treetops; engage in noisy pre-roosting acrobatics in evening. Sedentary in some districts but also seasonal wandering. Tame, playful and inquisitive. Groups of male keas will forage around campsites and car parks.

Clutch and Egg Size:

3 to 4 elliptical eggs, 45.0 x 33.0mm (1.7 x 1.3 in).

Breeding Season:

July-January

Related Links:

Parrot Society of Australia
Wikipedia
Research: Limited spread of innovation in a wild parrot, the Kea
Research: Population estimates of wild Kea
New Zealand Government - Kea Captive Management Plan and Husbandry Manual

Click photo to visit gallery

Keas wrestling
© Andrius Pasukonis

Did You Know?

Keas are so cheeky and curious about their surroundings that they will explore any new item that comes into their vicinity. They have been known to strip pieces off of cars in carparks, and dismantle tents in campgrounds!

Academic Research

Related publications: Nestor notabilis

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