Kea, the apline parrots of New Zealand, have been one of my favorite birds to photograph. These little rascals are incredibly intelligent and are very mischievous! If you are ever on the south island of New Zealand, please heed the warnings not to leave belongings unattended or car doors open because the keas love to steal things and are notorious for destroying anything made of rubber. Including bike tires and windshield molding!
While visiting Arthur’s Pass, I stopped at a look out point that is a well known spot for kea sightings and they didn’t disappoint! Almost immediately this one landed right in front of me and then put on a show of preening all of his beautiful feathers
Not long after, some of his friends decided to join us.
This endangered alpine parrot can only be found in the alpine areas on the south island of New Zealand. Keas are monogamous, and both the male and the female play active roles in raising their young. They tend to nest on the ground however, which leaves them vulnerable to rats, stouts, and possums that European settlers introduced to the country. New Zealand has a unique ecosystem that does not natively include any predators for the introduced species. This leaves many of New Zealand’s native bird species vulnerable to introduced predators like cats, dogs, rats, stouts, and possums.
If you are visiting New Zealand, please respect the rules and keep dogs and cats on leashes and out of the national parks.
Kea prints are available here
More information about the kea and New Zealand’s conservation efforts can be found here