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Kea - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by steenl
Arthur's Pass, New Zealand, March 2003
Nestor notabilis


46cm (19 in)
Olive green, scarlet rump and underwings. Feathers have dark edges.
The male's upper mandible is longer than the female's. Cere, eye and legs are dark brown.
Juveniles have a pale crown, yellow eye-ring and cere.


South Island, New Zealand.

This is a species of conservation concern, due to their restricted range[3].


This is a monotypic species[1].


Mountain and forest.


The Kea parrot is known for demolishing parked cars.


They have a seasonal diet, eating mountain flax flowers, and other trees and shrubs in January, and snow totara berries until snow fall. Additionally, they will eat a variety of berries, carrion and also scavenge around rubbish dumps.

They were even believed to have attacked and killed sheep in the past and were persecuted and killed for over 100 years.


They lay 2-4 eggs in crevices under rocks or tree roots. Incubation lasts 3-4 weeks, with the young fledging after 13 weeks.

In Culture

Affectionately called "the clown of the mountains".


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdForum member observations
  3. Latest Kea sighting reports
  4. Collar, N., E. de Juana, P. F. D. Boesman, and C.J. Sharpe (2020). Kea (Nestor notabilis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.kea1.01

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