The Notorious Kea of New Zealand
We encountered this “sweet” Parrot on the way to back from Milford Sound in New Zealand. The Kea ranges from lowland river valleys and coastal forests of the west coast up to the alpine regions of the South Island.
The Kea’s notorious urge to explore and manipulate, combined with strong neophilia (a personality type characterized by a strong affinity for novelty), makes this bird a pest for residents and an attraction for tourists. Called “The Clown of the Mountains”, it will investigate backpacks, boots or even cars, often causing damage or flying off with smaller items.
People commonly encounter wild Kea at South Island ski areas. The Kea are attracted by the prospect of food scraps. Their curiosity leads them to peck and carry away unguarded items of clothing or to pry apart rubber parts of cars—to the entertainment and annoyance of human observers. They are often described as “Cheeky”. A Kea has even been reported to have made off with a Scottish man’s passport while he was visiting Fiordland National Park! www.kerstenbeck.com