The kea’s diet varies by season as it feeds on plants during flowering seasons and relies on trash heaps, flesh, and bone marrow in the winter when foods are scarce.
The foods kea consume vary by season.
In spring, they eat mountain daisies (Celmisia) and dig in the soil for small plants and insects.
In summer, kea consume the nectar and pollen of flowering mountain flax (Phorium colensoi) and rata (Metrosideros). They eat berries of coprosma (Coprosma) and snow totara (Podocarpus nivalis), and eat the leaves, fruit, seeds, and flowers of other plants. In summer, they also eat beetle grubs, grasshoppers, and land snails.
In fall, kea feed on mountain beech leaves and buds and continue foraging on the roots, bulbs, fruit, seeds, and stems of other plants.
Kea scavenge on trash heaps year round and relish the flesh and bone marrow from carcasses. These food sources become particularly important in winter, when plant foods are scarce.