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Kea - photos

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kaka photos

About Kea

The Kea is a large semi-nocturnal parrot endemic to the mountains of New Zealand. It is distinctive in that it is the only parrot in the world capable of living in alpine regions of the world.

Keas are a favourite among tourists as they are playful, amusing, and engage in acrobatics including sideway hopping when moving forward. They are however quite destructive of property especially cars as they are often parked nearby by onlookers. They are fond of tearing rubber sealing from cars, mutalating window wipers, and generally prying things like wing mirrors and hub caps loose. If you are not careful they can also steal your jewellery or other bright objects if given half a chance.

Both sexes of the Kea are alike, but can be distinguished by the male having a longer curving upper mandible and being slightly larger in general than females, although a big female can be larger than a small male. Apart from their differences, they are both green with lighter feathers on their underside and back. They have red feathers on the back of their necks and on the underside of the wings which becomes evident when they are in flight. A flying Kea looks quite different in colour to one on the ground and on first impression, you would think they were two different species. Juvenile Keas have a yellow tinge to them.

Keas are good fliers, able to rise from valley bottom to the snowline in minutes. They can easily cross valleys and are adept at riding mountain air currents.



  

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Author & photographer: David Johnson (Virtual Oceania)


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