Kea are colorful birds with bronze olive-green bodies, dull blue primaries, red-orange coverts, and a dull red lower back.

The kea has mostly dull bronze, olive-green plumage. Its underparts are brownish-green with dark-edged feathers.

The feathers on the sides of the kea’s face are dark olive-brown with dark-edged feathers. It has a grey-brown beak having a long, narrow, curved upper beak. The adult has dark-brown irises, and the cere, eyerings, legs, and feet are grey-brown.

The underwing coverts are scarlet red-orange with yellow barring and notching that extends to the undersides of the flight feathers. The feathers on its lower back and rump are dull red-orange reaching to the upper-tail coverts, and some of the outer webs of their primary feathers are dull-blue.

The kea has a short, broad, bluish-green tail with a black tip. The upper surface of the tail is bronze-green. Feather shafts project at the tip of the tail and the undersides of the inner tail feathers have dull, yellow-orange transverse stripes.

Juvenile kea generally resemble adults, but have yellow eyerings, crowns, and cere, an orange-yellow lower beak, and grey-yellow legs.

Image | ©️ Phillip Capper, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY 2.0)
Sources | (BirdLife International, 2017; Bond, Wilson, & Forshaw, 2006; Diamond, 1991; del Hoyo, Elliott, Sargatal, Christie, & de Juana, 2017; Diamond & Bond, 1999; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2020)

Learn More About the Kea


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