Travellers' Impressions
Stories & Articles from around the World

The Kea

There is not much native wild life in New Zealand but some marvellous birds. The kea is my favourite, especially a particular kea who greeted us as we drove up to view the new viaduct constructed to make an easier route throughout the Southern Alps. The bird was sitting on the sign waiting for the next group of visitors.

When we arrived and got out of our car it cocked its head and flew across to perch on top of the car. We had a good view of its wonderful orange under wing feathers, such a contrast to the dullish green of the upper feathers. It was very cheeky, pecking away at any rubber on the car; it was particularly keen on the back screen washer vent. It let us get quite close, posing for photographs. We both made eye contact with it and it was happy for us to be near. In fact it would not leave the car alone, we had to shoo it away to prevent damage.Kea

This mountain parrot is a big bird, sturdy and intelligent, but rather destructive. It appealed to me. It seemed a very independent spirit, cheeky and defiant and I agreed with those who think it would be a much more appropriate symbol of New Zealand than the elusive and rather undistinguished kiwi.

Jane Grenfell
August 2003

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