Nestorinae - Kea

Nestorinae - Kea
Keas

Alternate (Global) Names:

Chinese: 啄羊鹦鹉 ... Czech / Slovak: Nestor kea ... Danish / Dutch / German / English / Spanish / Italian / Maori / Norwegian / Swedish: Kea ... Estonian: kea (keapapagoi) ... French: Kéa, Nestor kéa ... Japanese: miyamaoomu, miyamaoumu, ミヤマオウム, ミヤマオオム ... Polish: (nestor) kea, kea, nestor kea ... Russian: Кеа, Кеа, Или Нестор, нестор

 

Overview:

The Keas (Nestor) notabilis are known as the clowns of the mountains, because of their playful and mischievous nature. They have a reputation for tearing the rubber sealing from cars.

The Kea has also been known as the feathered wolf because of its reputation for attacking and killing farmers' livestock (predominantly sheep). The Kea is the only species of parrot to habitually attack and kill other vertebrates, though this is generally rare and probably restricted to sick or trapped animals. They are probably one of the most active, intelligent, destructive and playful parrots, making them prone to behavioral problems and boredom in captivity if not well cared for.

Keas are playful in character, amusing onlookers with their acrobatics and sideways hopping antics even when simply moving forward.

 

Description:

This parrot averages 19 inches or 48 cm in length. Both female and male Kea are alike in their dark olive-green coloration with each feather being edged with black. They have lighter feathers on the breast, belly and back. Both have red plumage on the napes of their necks and underneath the wings that can be easily seen while in flight. The only visible distinction between the sexes is their beak with the male having a larger longer curving upper beak. Males, who average around 48 cm in length, are also slightly larger in general than females, and on average weigh 5% more, with bill length and curvature about 14% more. However, a light male can weigh less than a heavy female. Juvenile Keas have bright yellow eyelids, cere and beak and their crown feathers have a yellowish tinge to them; fledglings typically acquire their adult plumage at around eighteen months of age, although it can take up to 4 years for juvenile keas to lose the yellow around their eyes.

Females have shorter and less curved bill. Immatures as adult, but with yellowish skin to periophthalmic ring, cere and base of lower beak, feet yellow-brown. They attain the adult plumage at 18 months.

 

Breeding / Nesting:

Keas typically nest in crevices under rocks, in the roots of trees, or hollow logs. Keas are typically found in flocks of ten or more, and during breeding, juveniles can be found in groups topping the hundreds. Breeding seasons typically occur between July and January. Keas lay clutches of two to four eggs per season and these are incubated by the female for around twenty-nine days. When the chicks are a month old the male Kea assists in their feeding. Keas are reported to have polygamist breeding behaviors with the male pairing up with up to 4 females.

 

Diet / Feeding:

Their diet consists of leaves, buds, fruits, insects, and dead animals. Keas need to obtain fats to survive the harsh alpine environment and have been known to visit local rookeries and rob the nests of their eggs or young chicks. They are reported to particularly prize the fat surrounding sheep kidneys, and stories are told of their riding sheep over cliffs to obtain these morsels.

 

Status:

The Kea is now a protected species, but was once hunted for a bounty paid by farmers for killing their sheep. An estimated 150,000 Keas were slaughtered during this period. In the 1970s the Kea received partial protection after a census counted only 5000 Keas. They were not fully protected until 1986, when farmers were persuaded to give up their legal right to shoot any Kea that tampered with property or livestock. In exchange, the government agreed to investigate any reports of such problem birds and have them safely removed from the land.


 

Taxonomy:

Sub-Family: Nestorinae, Kea Nestor notabilis, Kaka Nestor meridionalis

Genus: Scientific: Nestor ... English: Nestor Parrot ... Dutch: Nestorpapegaaien ... German: Nestorpapageien ... French: Nestor

Species: Scientific: Nestor notabilis ... English: Kea, Mountain Parrot ... Dutch: Kea ... German: Kea ... French: Kea, Nestor de Montagne

 

Sub-species:

Northern Kaka / Northern Nestor:

Species: Scientific: Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis ... English: Northern Kaka, Northern Nestor ... Dutch: Noordelijke Kaka ... German: Nördlicher Kaka ... French: Nestor brunâtre de Nord

Description: Plumage variable; forehead, crown and nape brownish-grey to brown; lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird's head), cheeks and ear-coverts are yellow to orange, sometimes with reddish tinge; throat and upper breast greyish-brown to orange-yellow; lower breast yellow or orange-yellow; abdomen, thighs and under tail-coverts vary from dark orange to dull red; marked with greyish-brown; sometimes greenish-yellow band runs across greyish-brown hindneck; back dark ash-brown; wings brown with dull green tinge to coverts; rump and upper tail-coverts dark orange to dull red, each feather tipped greyish-brown; under tail-coverts dull yellow; tail brown; inner webs of outer tail-feathers marked yellow to orange; iris dark brown; feet olive-brown; long curved bill brownish-grey. Immatures as adults, but with olive-brown breast ... Length: 38 cm (15 ins)

CITES II - Endangered

Distribution: Norfolk and Philip Islands

 

Slender-billed Kea aka Norfolk Island Kaka:

Species: Scientific: Nestor productus aka Nestor meridionalis productus... English: Slender-billed Kea, Norfolk Island Kaka ... Dutch: Dunbeknestor Papegaai ... German: Dünnschnabelnestor ... French: Nestor à bec gracile, Nestor d'ile Norfolk

Description: Plumage variable; forehead, crown and nape brownish-grey to brown; lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird's head), cheeks and ear-coverts are yellow to orange, sometimes with reddish tinge; throat and upper breast greyish-brown to orange-yellow; lower breast yellow or orange-yellow; abdomen, thighs and under tail-coverts vary from dark orange to dull red; marked with greyish-brown; sometimes greenish-yellow band runs across greyish-brown hindneck; back dark ash-brown; wings brown with dull green tinge to coverts; rump and upper tail-coverts dark orange to dull red, each feather tipped greyish-brown; under tail-coverts dull yellow; tail brown; inner webs of outer tail-feathers marked yellow to orange; iris dark brown; feet olive-brown; long curved bill brownish-grey. Immatures as adults, but with olive-brown breast. ... Length: 38 cm (15 ins)

CITES Status: EXTINCT. Last recorded about 1850

Distribution: Formerly inhabited Norfolk and adjacent Phillippine Island

 

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

For updates please follow BeautyOfBirds on Google+


 

Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.

BeautyOfBirds strives to maintain accurate and up-to-date information; however, mistakes do happen. If you would like to correct or update any of the information, please send us an e-mail. THANK YOU!

Comments