Kea are opportunistic, generalist, omnivorous foraging parrots that rely on the leaves, buds, and nuts of southern beeches as an important part of their diet.

Kea are opportunistic, omnivorous parrots. The leaves, buds, and nuts of southern beeches (Nothofagus) are especially important in the kea diet.

Kea feed on plant matter, such as leaves, buds, nuts, roots, stems, fruit, seeds, flowers, nectar, pollen, and berries. They mostly feed on berries and shoots. They also feed on insects, like beetle grubs and grasshoppers. Kea have been reported to eat land snails, rabbits, and mice. Kea scavenge on trash heaps year-round and relish the flesh and bone marrow from carcasses. Kea have also gained a reputation for attacking sheep (Ovis aries), although they usually only prey on wounded or diseased sheep.

Image | ©️ Bernard Spragg. NZ, Public Domain, (CC0 1.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2017; del Hoyo, Elliott, Sargatal, Christie, & de Juana, 2017; Diamond & Bond, 1999; Williams, 2001)

Learn More About the Kea


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