The Kea is a large species of parrot found in forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. About 48 centimetres (19 in) long, it is mostly olive-green with a brilliant orange under its wings and has a large narrow curved grey-brown upper beak. The Kea is the world's only alpine parrot. Its omnivorous diet includes carrion but consists mainly of roots, leaves, berries, nectar, and insects. Now uncommon, the Kea was once killed for bounty due to concerns by the sheep farming community that it attacked livestock, especially sheep. It received full protection only in 1986.

The Kea nests in burrows or crevices among the roots of trees. Kea are known for their intelligence and curiosity, both vital to their survival in a harsh mountain environment. Kea can solve logical puzzles, such as pushing and pulling things in a certain order to get to food, and will work together to achieve a certain objective.

The Kea's notorious urge to explore and manipulate 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.

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app