Thursday, April 16, 2009

kea (Nestor notabilis)


"Found only in New Zealand, the kea passes the summer high in the mountains of South Island, feeding mainly on fruit but also taking insects and worms. But when winter comes it descends to the plains where sheep-farming is one of the main activities. It is there that this otherwise harmless vegetarian changes character. Originally its ancestors pecked the sheepskins hanging outside sheep stations for insects, or tasted offal from the slaughter-houses. Later generations of keas, having acquired this taste for flesh, began to prey on the bodies of living sheep, chiefly for the sake of the kidney-fat they had learned to look for. So expert is the kea that it will alight on the back of a sheep exactly where the kidneys are most easily exposed. The cruel beak finds its meal in an instant, leaving the poor beast mortally wounded."

--Animal World in Color, Volume 8 - Hunters: Birds, Fish, and Amphibians, edited by Maurice Burton, Childrens Press: Chicago, 1969

1 comment:

Rafé said...

that is a nice picture

and oh wow, that is interesting...especially being how cute that kea is, haha