Alpine parrot may have fled to mountains to avoid people

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2ND, 2021

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Keas, a species of large parrots found in New Zealand's alpine regions, may have fled there to get away from humans, a new study suggests.

The research notes there is evidence that the birds have adapted the area as their home because it was an area that has largely been untouched by humans.

Kea use the alpine zone as a retreat from human activity, then what other options do they have if the alpine zone disappears?

The alpine zone has experienced significant change in recent years, due to global warming, according to the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network.

It's possible the kea may use the forests more, potentially putting them at odds with its sister species, the kākā, but at this point, the researchers just don't know.

Keas are known for their olive-green bodies and orange feathers under their wings. They also have a gray long, narrow curved gray beak.

Kākās are another type of parrot also found in New Zealand, albeit primarily in the forests of the island country.

Keas, which have wingspans approaching 3 feet long and are roughly 19 inches in length, have adapted well to the changing climate, but they are not out of the proverbial woods just yet.

To find out how both species might deal with a warming climate, the researchers looked at their histories.

During glacial periods, the habitat of the kea expanded, while kākā expanded between glacial periods.

Kea population size remained relatively stable (albeit small), while the size of the kākā population varied greatly.

It is estimated there are between 3,000 and 7,000 keas in New Zealand, according to the country's Department of Conservation.

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