Kea are large parrots from the alpine forests of the South Island of New Zealand. Adults are olive-green with scarlet underwings and rump. The name Kea is from Maori, and probably comes from the sound of their call. Kea are inquisitive birds, sometimes to the point of being a nuisance. In 2017 they were voted New Zealand's Bird of The Year.

Population numbers of Kea are hard to estimate but are small, probably around 5000 individuals, and appear to be declining. This seems to be due to predation by introduced mammals such as stoats and Brush-tailed Possums. Competition for food with other introduced mammals such as Red Deer and Hare is also a factor.

In 1970 Kea received official protection from the New Zealand government when it was realised how small populations had become. Previously there had been a bounty on Kea, as they were accused of widespread sheep deaths due to attacks on their fat. Hunting for this reason had contributed to their population decline. This specimen was collected in 1877 from an unknown location.

Kea are considered Nationally Endangered under the New Zealand Threat Classification Scheme and Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are being assessed for possible inclusion on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Specimen Details


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