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Kea

About Kea

Large, heavily built parrot with long, pointed upper mandible, sturdy legs and large feet. Dark brown head and underparts have darker tips to feathers, back and wings more strongly scaled with blacker edges to iridescent bronzy-green feathers; wingtip feathers partly blue; underwings tangerine; tail bronze-green above, yellow below; dark band near tip; legs grayish-brown; bill black; eyes brown.

The Kea breeds mainly from July through January. The female will make the nest of twigs, moss, lichens, leaves and chewed wood beneath rocks, under tree roots or in a hollow log. She will lay 2-4 white eggs, taken care of by the female. The male brings the female her food. The chicks are taken care of by both parents.

Like other parrots, Keas are very social birds, often seen flying high above a forested valley on their broad wings, calling loudly. The call, a harsh, ringing “kee-ah,” gave the bird its common name.

These birds are bold, playful, and inquistive. They have a diet of natural foods, which include berries of many mountain shrubs and trees. They will also take advantage of unattended pinic food. These birds are endangered and it is estimated that there are fewer than 5,000 of these birds left.