The fearsomeness of Kea Birds

Gallery

The Kea bird is much, much scarier than I had realised.

Kea_Alpine_Parrot_Walking

original photo by Surgeondryhog

You can find the Kea (Nestor notabilis) only in New Zealand. Only in the South Island of New Zealand. And thank goodness for that!

When I went to the Copenhagen Zoo I was walking around and looking at the animals with a few friends, one of which was from NZ. In one of the cages there was a kea: a medium sized green parrot, hopping about on the floor. Looked cute, albeit a bit dull-coloured. “Uhg” she said “I hate those birds”. We were surprised, and asked her why. She answered that they were pests, with the worst qualities an animal could have: curious, intelligent, bold and strong. While she spoke I thought of baboons, and back home researching in the web my similarity was confirmed – they are known to wreck cars, steal property, attack domestic animals. Some people call it “the clown of the mountains” and a group of Kea are called a circus. Yep, the baboons of New Zealand. And that is basically why they have been hunted nearly to extinction. That, and the fact that they eat sheep alive.

kea_sheep

A drawing of a Kea attacking a sheep published in the Lyttelton Times in 1882

Here you can see one of the only videos in which a Kea was caught chomping on a live sheep. Creepy. Like the fact that they’re a greenish brown colour, until they open their wings, which are bright red on the underside. A bad omen?

1493177_783637784986594_1690087570_n

The creepy red underwing of a Kea in flight (source: biology101.org)

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