As opportunistic, generalist omnivorous foragers, kea are primary, secondary, and higher-level consumers and only compete with the kaka for food resources.

Kea, being opportunistic, generalist omnivorous foragers, are primary, secondary, and higher-level consumers.

In the past, kea probably had an array of competitors, such as New Zealand kaka (Nestor meridionalis), moa (Anomalopteryx, Dinornis, Emeus, Euryapteryx, Megalapteryx, and Pachyornis spp.), kakapo (Strigops habroptila), North Island takahe (Porphyrio mantelli), and Chatham ravens (Corvus moriorum), but human settlement fueled a mass extinction of New Zealand’s native birds. Moa, takahe, and Chatham ravens are now extinct, and kakapo are extremely rare.

Only kaka remain to compete with kea and, where their ranges overlap, these two closely related species use many of the same food resources. The kaka is a lowland species, and is smaller and darker than the kea with crimson underparts.

Image | © Barni1, Some Rights Reserved, Pixabay
Sources | (Diamond & Bond, 1999; Williams, 2001)

Learn More About the Kea


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