Attack of the kea at Arthur’s Pass!

If I return without seeing one of these birds, I’ll be downhearted. Here is a kea attack on a car at Arthur’s Pass. The woman tried to feed one, which is forbidden, though I know it’s tempting.

And here’s a video showing the infectious “play call” of the kea that incites other kea to playful behavior. Read about it in National Geographic.  Note that the researchers played various calls to the keas, including non-play calls and the calls of other species.


  1. busterggi
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Be afraid!

  2. Leslie
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    It looks like the Kea, in the video, would have no problem ripping off all the weather stripping (the rubber-like edges surrounding automobile windows) of any car it encounters.

    Beautiful bird, though.

    • busterggi
      Posted March 22, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Lovely plummage.

      • James Walker
        Posted March 22, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        The plumage don’t enter into it.

        • Posted March 22, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          Pining for the fjords, are we? /Grania

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 22, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            That would be those deciduous Zealandian pines?

  3. James Walker
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I met a very cheeky kea in the Auckland zoo.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 22, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Auckland Zoo used to have some kea housed in an old monkey cage. There were a few sawn logs (about 3″ diameter and 12″ long) on the floor and several keas were teaming up to roll one of these logs across the floor and back. Just for the hell of it.

      But a bigger puzzle was their sulphur crested cockatoo. There was an enclosure with a sign announcing the bird and there, perched on a branch, was the cockatoo – except, this enclosure just had a low stone wall around it and no bars, no mesh to keep the bird from flying away. Are cockatoos so incredibly territorial that this one was guaranteed to stay put?


      • Diane G.
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        Are you sure it was fully flighted? (I.e., no wing trimming whatsoever?)

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 12:31 am | Permalink

          Can’t be sure, but it was perched on a branch about six feet up. The enclosure wall was only 3 feet high, and close to the tree, so if it could get up the tree it could certainly have got over the wall if it wanted to.


          • Diane G.
            Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:12 am | Permalink

            Probably couldn’t have walked very far, though… 😀

            Large pet/tame psittacines can become quite attached to their homes and “family.” In Costa Rica I ran across a few family pet Amazons (any of a number of species in the genus Amazona just sitting in small trees outside their houses…

            • Diane G.
              Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:13 am | Permalink

              Close parentheses after Amazona.

  4. Diane G.
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    In that first vid, I’m not sure I’d have had my window cranked down so low!

    Looked to me like she was offering the parrot a piece of paper to play with–most of them love shredding stuff.

  5. Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I wonder if someone at National Public Radio follows this website? As I was reading this
    NPR ran a story on the “play call” of the Kea!

  6. Lars
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The kea, when seen face-on, has a facial morphology rather like that of the kakapo – hadn’t noticed that before.
    They don’t appear to be closely related, aside from both being New Zealand parrots.

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