Sunday, October 26, 2014

Creature Feature #372: Kea

Another New Zealand parrot, the Kea is also something of an oddity. He is the only parrot to live in an alpine environment. This harsh environment has led to some rather interesting adaptions - the Kea is one of the most intelligent birds in the world. He is intensely curious, using his long beak to rip aside anything in search of food - or for fun. Kea were once maligned for the rather unfortunate behaviour of tearing flesh from sheep, seeking the protein it provided, and large numbers were shot. In more recent times this curiosity and powerful bill has led to them stripping rubber from cars, and also to chewing on nails. Lead poisoning from these nails is a big problem, combined with being killed by cars or attacked on the nest by stoats. This charming alpine clown is now considered vulnerable to extinction.

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