The Kea (Nestor notabilis) is a large bird in the parrot family. It is the world’s only alpine (high mountain) parrot. It is related to the flightless Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus).
The Kea is mostly olive-green, which means that it is well-camouflaged in trees. It has brilliant orange feathers under its wings. The feathers on its back and rump are orange-red, and some of the outer wing feathers are dull blue. It has a dark olive-brown face. Its blue-grey upper beak is large, narrow, and curved. It has a short, broad, bluish-green tail with a black tip. It has dark-brown eyes. Its cere, eye-rings, and legs are grey.
It grows to about 48 centimetres (19 inches) long.
The Kea is only found in the South Island of New Zealand. It prefers forested and alpine regions.
It is omnivorous, eating meat, especially the meat of dead animals. However, its diet also consists of roots, leaves, berries, nectar, and insects.
The Kea is social and lives in groups of up to 13 individuals.
The Kea nests in burrows in the ground, or crevices among tree roots. The nests have a tunnel that leads to a larger room, which is lined with moss, lichens, ferns, and rotting wood.
The female lays 2-5 white eggs, which hatch after about 21 days.
Location of photographs: Paris Jardin du Plantes Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM