This lovable pest may come to you asking for food or attempting to steal your belongings! They are named for their loud vocalizations, “kee-aaa!”
Kea Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Nestor notabilis
Kea Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Blue, Green, Orange, Olive
12 years
1.6 to 2.2 pounds
Kea Distribition

The kea ( Nestor notabilis) is a big parrot native to the island to New Zealand’s South Island, where they occupy high hills. Nicknamed the “mischievous towering parrot,” this species is spirited, interested, and very smart. If you ever before obtain the opportunity to see their all-natural environment, hold on to your budgets! They are well-known for tinkering vacationers, usually pleading for food, taking valuables, and tossing rocks. Discover the remarkable realities concerning this enchanting hassle, consisting of where they live, what they eat, and exactly how they act.

5 Outstanding Kea Realities

  • They are just one of minority parrot species to occupy high altitudes, around 5,200 feet over water level or greater.
  • Keas do not be afraid humans. They appreciate tinkering site visitors and are not timid concerning requesting food.
  • They dig below ground passages, which result in a bigger chamber for their nests.
  • They are called for their loud articulations, “kee- aaa!”
  • They are as smart as a 4- year- old human!

Where to Discover the Kea Bird

Keas are native to the island to New Zealand, where they live year- round. They survive on the South Island’s shores and hills, from lowland river valleys and seaside woodlands to towering areas like Arthur’s Pass. They largely occupy southerly beech woodlands on high mountainsides and are just one of minority parrot species to live at high altitudes. If you take a trip to their setting, you will not have trouble locating them. They are unafraid of humans and appreciate playing and misbehaving. This adorable insect might come right as much as you, requesting food or trying to take your valuables!


  1. New Zealand

Kea Nest

They choose their nesting websites in southerly beech woodlands on high mountainsides, around 5,200 feet over water level. They nest on the ground under huge trees, in rock gaps, or in between origins. These parrots dig passages 3 to 19 feet long, which result in a big chamber lined with moss, lichen, and decaying timber.

Scientific Name

The kea ( Nestor notabilis) comes from the Psittaciformes order in the Nestoridae family, including the kea and kaka, native to the island parrot species in Australia. The Nestor genus additionally consists of these species.

Dimension, Appearance & Actions

Kea bird in mid-flight
With a wingspan of 3 feet, the kea is a striking bird.Olivia Oates/Shutterstock. com

The kea is a big parrot, determining 18 to 22 inches long and considering 1.6 to 2.2 extra pounds, with a 3- foot wingspan. They have long, bent beaks, short, wide tails, and huge feet. Grownups have olive- eco-friendly quill, grey beaks, Orange- red rump and back plumes, boring blue external wings, and a blue- eco-friendly tail with black ideas.

This very social species stays in teams of as much as 13 birds year- round. They additionally create long-lasting sets and elevate their young with each other. Keas are unbelievably smart. Research study verifies they have intelligence on the same level with apes and 4- year- old humans, making them among the most intelligent animals on our earth. They can address complicated issues, collaborate in the direction of an usual objective, and usage devices. These abilities are remarkably uncommon in the animal kingdom, with just around 30 species showing device usage. Keas are called for their articulations, that include a loud, high- pitched coming down “kee- aaa.” These birds do not speak or utilize mimicry yet connect with laughs, screeches, and hollers. Their label is “mischievous towering parrot,” appropriately called for their interested, spirited, and mischievous habits. Keas will certainly take budgets, keys, and food and discover happiness in torturing site visitors. They frequently toss rocks at individuals, get into dog doors, and eat off vehicle antennas.

Movement Pattern and Timing

Keas are nonmigratory and stay in their atmospheres year- round.


Keas are opportunistic omnivores that eat greater than 40 plant species!

What Does the Kea Bird Eat?

Their diet consists of fallen leaves, nectar, fruit, nuts, seeds, plant pollen, origins, beetle larvae, snails, shearwater chicks, rabbits, and sheep. Reports of their sheep- feeding practices arised in the 1800s, yet it had not been verified up until a 1992 video clip arised. Keas choice items of fat and flesh from sheep’s backs, specifically when food is limited. The sheep generally pass away from infection, not from being consumed. They additionally consistently invade human trash containers and take food from vacationers.

Predators, Risks, and Conservation Status

The IUCN notes the kea as EN or “endangered” This species is quickly decreasing because of presented animal predators, such as stoats, cats, and possums. Keas were when greatly prosecuted and had actually bounties put on them for striking sheep. Farmers are still in charge of eliminating an unidentified quantity every year. Their various other hazards consist of logging, accidents, lead poisoning, and environment adjustment.

What Consumes the Kea Bird?

Their key predators consist of stoats, brush- trailed possums, and residential cats. Rats are additionally understood for taking kea eggs from their nests. Predators, specifically stoats, strike 60% of kea nests. In some locations with considerable animal killer populaces, 99% of kea nests were jeopardized. They dig their nests in openings in the ground, making them very vulnerable to ground- home predators The Division of Preservation checks several of their populaces and discovered that an airborne application of possum toxin minimized the kea’s nest hazard by 27%.

Reproduction, Youthful, and Molting

Kea birds are virginal and companion permanently, reproducing annual in between July and January. Females lay 2 to 5 white eggs and breed them for 21 days. The young fledge the nest around 94 days yet just have a 40% opportunity of survival within their initial year of life. Female keas get to sex-related maturation around 3 years and males around 4 and 5 years. They have an ordinary life-span of 12 years yet can meet half a century in bondage.


The worldwide kea population is approximated to number 4,000 fully grown people. Their populaces remain in a descending pattern, decreasing by 50% over the last 3 generations. They have actually seen steeper decreases in locations without killer control actions in position.


  1. IUCN Red List, Available here:
  2. Huber, Ludwig; Gajdon, Gyula, Available here:
  3. Diamond, Judy; Bond, Alan (1970) Kea, bird of paradox: the evolution and behavior of a New Zealand parrot. Univ of California Press, 1999.

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