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Kea Pair - Nestor notabilis

Kea Pair - Nestor notabilis
Photo Information
Copyright: Steve Reekie (LordPotty) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1381 W: 144 N: 3872] (12503)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-11-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-11-04 4:39
Viewed: 6085
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I couldn't resist posting one more shot of the Keas above the Otira Gorge at Arthurs Pass. I'm quite sure nobody will mind really. Everybody seems to love these attractive and endearing birds.
I did take quite a few shots, but after posting these three, I'll take a break and post something different.
(I also found a new native orchid at Arthurs Pass which I'm keen to show off)
I think this is probably a male and female pair.The male has a slightly longer and more curved beak,so I'm guessing that is the male on the right of the picture.

Here,once again,is the information on Keas,copied from Wikipedia:

Nestor notabilis

The Kea (Nestor notabilis) is a species of parrot (family Psittacidae) found in forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. The Kea is one of the few alpine parrots in the world, and includes carrion in an omnivorous diet consisting mainly of roots, leaves, berries, nectar and insects. Now uncommon,the Kea was once killed for bounty as it preyed on livestock, especially sheep, only receiving full protection in 1986.

Kea are legendary for their intelligence and curiosity, both vital to their survival in a harsh mountain environment.

Most people only encounter wild Kea at South Island ski areas. The Kea are attracted by the prospect of food scraps from human habitation. Their curiosity leads them to peck and carry away unguarded items of clothing, or to pry apart rubber parts of cars - to the entertainment and annoyance of human observers. They are often described as "cheeky".

Taxonomy and naming:
The Kea was described by ornithologist John Gould in 1856. Its specific epithet, the Latin term notabilis, means "noteworthy".The common name is from Māori, probably representing the screech of the bird. The term Kea is both singular and plural.

The genus Nestor contains three species: The Kākā (Nestor meridionalis), the Kea (N. notabilis), and the extinct Norfolk Island Kākā (N. productus). All three are thought to stem from a 'proto-Kākā', dwelling in the forests of New Zealand 15 million years ago.The closest relative is most likely the Kākāpō (Strigops habroptilus).
A 2005 sex chromosome spindlin DNA sequence study suggests that the Nestor species, and the Kākāpō in its own genus, comprise an ancient group that split off from all other Psittacidae before their radiation,but fossil evidence seems to contradict this[citation needed]; given the violent geological history of New Zealand (see, for example, Taupo Volcanic Zone), other explanations such as episodes of genetic drift seem better supported by evidence.

Distribution and Habitat:
The Kea (Nestor notabilis) is one of seven parrot species endemic to New Zealand. The other mainland species are the Kākā (Nestor meridionalis), the Kākāpō (Strigops habroptilus), and three species of Kākāriki: the Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps), Red-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae) and the Orange-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus malherbi). The seventh New Zealand parrot species is the Antipodes Island Parakeet (Cyanoramphus unicolor)), endemic to the subantarctic islands after which it is named.

The Kea ranges from lowland river valleys up to the alpine regions of the South Island such as Arthur's Pass and Mt. Cook National Park, closely associated throughout its range with the southern beech (Nothofagus) forests in the alpine ridge. Its notorious urge to explore and manipulate, combined with strong neophilia, makes this bird a pest for residents and an attraction for tourists. Called "the clown of the mountains", it will investigate backpacks, boots or even cars, often causing damage or flying off with smaller items.

Population estimates range from 1,000 to 5,000 individuals, but its widespread distribution at low density prevents accurate estimates. Together with local councils and runholders, the New Zealand government paid a bounty for Kea bills because the bird preyed upon lifestock, mainly sheep.It was intended that hunters would kill Kea only on the farms and council areas that paid the bounty, but some hunted them in national parks and in Westland, where they were officially protected. More than 150,000 were killed in the hundred years before 1970, when the bounty was lifted.In the 1970s the Kea received partial protection after a census counted only 5000 birds. It was not fully protected until 1986, when farmers gave up their legal right to shoot any Kea that tampered with property or livestock. In exchange, the government agreed to investigate any reports of problem birds and have them removed from the land.

Life Span:
In the wild, undocumented, but estimated to be 15 years
At least one observer has reported that the Kea is polygamous, with one male attached to multiple females. The same source noted that there was a surplus of females.In one study, nest sites occur at a density of 1 per 4.4kmē.The breeding areas are most commonly in Southern Beech (Nothofagus sp.) forests, located on steep mountain sides. Breeding at heights of 1600m above sea level and higher, it is one of the few parrot species in the world to regularly spend time above tree line. Nest sites are usually positioned on the ground underneath large beech trees, in rock crevices or dug burrows between roots. They are accessed by tunnels leading back 1m to 6m into a larger chamber, which is furnished with lichens, moss, ferns and rotting wood. The laying period starts in January and reaches into July. 2-4 white eggs are laid, with an incubation time of around 21 days.

An omnivore, the Kea feeds on more than 40 plant species, beetle larva, other birds (including shearwater chicks) and mammals (including sheep and rabbits).The Kea has also taken advantage of human garbage and "gifts" of food.In captivity, the bird is fond of butter, nuts, apples, carrots, grapes, mangoes, figs, bread, dairy products, ground meat and pasta.

Hope you like this one too.

pirate, ralfsworld, maurydv, haraprasan, matatur, rousettus, boreocypriensis, marhowie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Steve
great compo and great colors showing how good their camouflage really is. There is quite a deep DOF (as always with digital bridge or compact cameras) and imho the bg could be a bit more blurred. On the other hand it is showing even better how they disappear in their natural environment

Hi Steve
What a cool looking guys you have here :) Really nice details on birds and colours. They are almost invisible on this BG which show how they look in their natural environment.

Ciao Steve,
bellissima cattura di questi uccelli che non conoscevo, splendida composizione con le belle posture laterale e frontale che evidenziano molto bene il piumaggio colto con un'eccellente definizione, molto belli i colori e l'ambientazione naturale con le rocce. Interessanti note.

Namastay Steve,
Another nice capture of this beautiful Kea couple. Superb details and a lovely composition. Thanks a a lot for sharing.


A perfectly formed pair in their natural surroundings Steve, finely demonstrating their camouflage abilities. An expertly capture indeed! TFS this beautiful image my friend.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-11-04 10:12]

They really do have bags of character don't they? What i like is that they match in colour their surroundings here, which is to be expected i suppose. Very crisp details and well exposed too, nice work mate.

Hello Steve
very beautiful couple of Kea and its great capture with great focus, colors and POV. Nicely composed. I like also eyes contact. Thanks for sharing, well done my friend

Hi Steve,
Very nice capture of this beautiful pair with good pose and composition, sharp details and natural BG.

Hi Steve,
Anther lovely and perfect capture of this pair of Keas in a fine composition. Details, sharpness and BG are also excellent my friend.
TFS and cheers,

Ps. In this season, every Monday and Tueasday I have got so many obligations in both diurnal and nocturnal education. therefore, in these days I have limited time for the feedback. Hence I can make my comments/critiques at the night time after resting. sorry for the delaying...

These are beautiful birds. We don't see these types of birds around here unless there pets. Seeing them in there natural habitat is great. I really would like to see a bit more separation with a creamier background since the entire scene is the same color as the Keas' Sharpness and details are great and lighting and exposure is very nice as well. TFS

Hi Steve,
These are probably the most beautiful birds. There camo color makes them probably also the most difficult ones to photographe. I like how their color blends with the background but how the are seperated by it due to the perfect DOF.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-11-05 13:56]

Hi Steve,
very nice shot of these Keas.
Very good detail in the feathers.
Excellent composition.
Very sharp.

One of your best!


Very nice shot of the pair Steve, I like it a lot..
Excellent DOF, colors, exposure, POV, comp, and sharp details mf.
Very well done,

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