Length, 46-48 cm
Females 660-970 g; males 840-1,140 g
Estimated at 2,000-10,000
High country mountains, wooded valleys, forest edges and alpine scrubland of New Zealand's South island
Bird of prey or bird of play? New Zealand's Kea is decidedly the latter. The frisky parrot will play with nearly any object: twigs, stones or whatever catches its fancy. Romping in the snow is a favorite pastime, as is socializing with other keas. The bold bird even approaches hikers with little fear but much curiosity. A quick learner, the kea is able to adapt readily to new situations. When threatened by introduced predators, for instance, it responded by moving to higher elevations. But is that enough? A number of human activities—from farming practices to waste dumping—threaten to end the kea's fun and games forever.