On February 22nd, after the Glaciers, we went to Arthur’s Pass National Park.
There is a lot of walking tracks there but our goal was not to walk: we simply wanted to sea Kea parrots.
The Kea parrot is a mountain parrot endemic of New Zealand (by the way, it is the only mountain parrot in the world). It is about 50 centimeters, weigh between 800 grams and one kilo and its wingspan is around 90 centimeters. It is olive-green.
In summer, the Kea mostly eats seeds, leaves, buds, fruits, flowers, insects and worms. In autumn, he eats sprouts and leaves in evergreen beeches forests. In winter, he is not against some meet, in particular from merino sheeps. It is the only known carinovorous parrot.
The Kea parrot is very curious by nature and not shy at all. On campsites, signs recommend to be careful with your stuff, otherwise Keas may damage or stole them.
This curiosity and its carnivorous reputation were bad for the species: humans hunted Keas for the last 130 years. The number of killed Keas is estimated at 150000. The species is protected since 1970.
We spent a night on a free campsite and could see Keas. 4 of them spent a lot of time in the trees next to our car. They came down to see if, by any chance, we had something to eat for them. We spent hours just watching them. Their walk is really funny, they look like they are doing sidesteps.
Anyway, we did not regret to come here for that, and we even found a new nickname for the Kea parrot: the thug parrot.