Nestor notabilis

Kea, the well known, cheeky, high country, South Island parrots, are one of the world's most intelligent birds.

Kea are listed as nationally endangered under the New Zealand Threat Classification System. Although kea are seen in reasonable numbers across the South Island, their population is estimated at only 3000 – 5000 birds.

Kea are related to forest kaka (nestor meridionalis) and are thought to have developed their unique characteristics during the last great ice age through their powers of curiosity.They are highly adaptable and capable of searching for and finding food across harsh landscapes. Nests are usually found among boulders in high altitude forest where the birds lay two to four eggs during the July to January breeding season.

Kea, rated as one of the world’s most intelligent birds, grow up to 50 cm in length and although mainly vegetarian, do eat insects. They are found locally in the high alpine areas above the Dart and Routeburn Falls Huts.

If you ever see or hear wild kea, make sure to report this at - This is an effective citizen science tool which will help build a better picture of their current population.