A Kea Nestor notabilis,
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Kea parrot is among the very few members of the species that live in lofty mountains, particularly in New Zealand. But this does not mean they are not suitable as companion birds. This kind of parrot can actually adjust to any environment. While they have been known to live in windy and cold conditions, wild Keas often fly off to low lying forests and grasslands. They can even be seen wandering the coastlines. It is during the summer months that Keas go back to forested highlands that can go as high as 1,900 meters in elevation. They can be found mostly in burrows, riverbanks, and even in places that have plenty of large tree roots.
A Kea parrot can eat almost anything that you can throw at its mouth. They have known omnivores. A typical diet for this parrot includes plant leaves, flowers, roots, fruits and seeds. They definitely love berries, but they can also gobble up worms and insects. Keas also eat garbage and dead and rotting flesh. They used to be hunted for bounty because they attacked livestock, specifically sheep. In zoos and as pets, Keas can be fed with the usual parrot mixes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. You can also put in eggs, live worms, and even dog biscuits as special treats. If the climate in your area is extremely different from the natural environment of Keas, do not forget to give your pet some vitamins and other supplements to keep it healthy.
In the wild, a Kea parrot is estimated to have a lifespan of 15 years. But in zoos, many Keas have lived for more than 20 years. This can only mean that Keas can be your companion parrot for a long time. Taking a closer look at the physical features of this bird, you will see that Keas are primed for survival. For one, their feathers are thick and can provide ample protection against harsh environmental conditions. Next, they have long and bony beaks that allow it to reach into or pry open difficult food sources. They even have sharp claws that allow them to root out underground food such as worms.
On top of its survival instincts, the Kea parrot also oozes with inquisitiveness and intelligence. Experts have been fascinated by this parrot's strong interest in newly found items. Keas have also been observed to apply a fixed social structure, where each member of the group (called a pandemonium) cooperates in finding food. Truly, all these characteristics make Keas some of the best companion parrots to care for.