The world’s only mountain parrot whose cheeky antics divide Kiwis, beats kererū and kākāpō to coveted crown
Monday 23 October 2017 23.56 BSTLast modified on Tuesday 24 October 2017 00.52 BST
The kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, has been crowned New Zealand bird of the year, with thousands more votes cast for the species than there are surviving individuals.
New Zealand’s annual bird of the year competition hit new heights this year with more than 50,000 votes cast from around the country and the world. The competition is in its 13th year, and pits the country’s rare and endangered birds against one another. No bird has won twice.
The kea – a highly intelligent and inquisitive olive green mountain parrot that lives only in the Southern Alps – received 7,311 votes, streets ahead of the native wood pigeon, the kererū, which came second with 4,572 votes, followed by the kākāpō with 2,554 votes.
There are 168 bird species in New Zealand and about a third are threatened with extinction, with dozens more on the endangered list. Some species have dwindled to a few hundred individuals tucked away in isolated pockets of the country.