Kea: The Destructive Parrot



This is New Zealand’s Kea Parrot. The Kiwi bird may be New Zealand’s national symbol, although I’m not sure why in that they are nocturnal and extremely hard to find, but the Kea is my personal favorite. They are extremely inquisitive creatures. They have no issues with broaching your personal space but do seem to get extremely upset when one of their own encroaches on theirs.

I found these two, and a third nearby, in the Milford Sound (or rather I should say they found me). I had no more than gotten out of my rental van and then one of these guys came swooping in just above my head and landed on the adjacent vehicle. The other two weren’t far behind. The three then took it upon themselves test the entire vehicle to see if any part of it might be eatable. They pulled part of the rubber seal out of a window, tried to eat the windshield wiper, took several snips at the car carrier on top and even tried to eat the antenna which I found especially hilarious. The bird kept pulling on the antenna and then it would release and fly back and hit him in the face. The three soon moved on to trying to eat a nearby tractor. I snapped this shot as they seemingly fought over who would be able to get a crack at the tractor next.

When not trying to eat everything they are quite talkative creatures. One of the hut wardens (ranger) on the Routeburn Trail said that he found them entertaining and that he knew everything was okay so long as they were talking, but the second things went quiet he knew mischief was afoot. He once found a small piece of cloth about 2″ square on the terrace of the cabin, it was what was left of someone’s sleeping bag after the destructive critters went silent.

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