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Destructive Kea NZ. (Nestor notabilis) | by Bernard Spragg
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Destructive Kea NZ. (Nestor notabilis)

Meet the parrot that’s as smart as a monkey: New Zealand’s own kea. Dubbed the Clown of the Alps, this bird is heralded as the world’s most intelligent bird. It’s also heralded as the cheekiest. A permanent resident of New Zealand’s mountains (and the world's only alpine parrot), the kea is one of the few large birds in the Land of the Long White Cloud that hasn’t forgotten how to fly. Catch a glimpse of a kea in flight and you won’t forget it, either: the bird transforms from sleek olive-green to brilliant flashes of bright orange, scarlet and yellow.


Insatiably curious, charismatic, and mischievous, keas are also hardy; they can tolerate a range of temperatures, and they thrive on everything from berries, leaves, fruits, and nectar to insects, roots, and carrion (yes, dead animals). They’ve also been known to scavenge for food in human trash receptacles. In fact, keas are famous

(or infamous) on South Island ski fields and tramping tracks where they’re often described as bold, reckless and often downright destructive.



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Taken on November 17, 2015