Thought to be the most intelligent bird on Earth, the kea is only found in Alpine areas of the South Island. Scientists believe they possess around the same intelligence as a seven-year-old human, and they have been found to work well in teams. They’re not quite able to complete a Rubix cube, but they are able to solve simple tasks that involve cooperation which is quite incredible! They have also been observed using sticks or rocks to obtain food or gain access to otherwise inaccessible areas.

They are abundant in Fiordland and the famous tramps along the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler Track are common places to spot their bright green, yellow and red plumage. Keas are known for their playful behavior, which can sometimes include interacting with human-made structures such as cars and ski equipment. Make sure to keep an eye on your belongings when there's a kea around, you wouldn't be the first person to lose your camera/lunch/backpack/shoes/etc. to this cheeky bird! Never feed kea, as this is harmful to them. 

Read more on the kea here.

Learn more about other birds in Southland: