New Zealand's Natural Cover Kea


The world's smartest bird and only mountain parrot, the Kea has been dubbed the ‘clown of the alps.’ It lives above the bush line in an environment exposed to snow and bleak winds in winter and mist and winds in summer. The Kea’s feathers provide perfect camouflage in the alpine light while also secreting an oily liquid which the bird uses to coat itself for insulation against the elements.

Familiar on South Island ski fields and tramping tracks, the Kea’s deconstructive inquisitiveness almost led to its demise. Tens of thousands were shot for a bounty because of their propensity to attack Merino sheep. However, since 1986 the Kea has been protected and farmers have had to give up their right to shoot them.

Thanks to their natural cover Keas are now making a comeback and continue to entertain alpine visitors with their high altitude antics.

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