Inspiring communities to protect kea, New Zealand's unique mountain parrot


This page provides a basic list of literature specific to kea or kea issues. It is by no means complete and as such will be built on as and when more literature comes to light.

Several links to other web-sites have also been added to direct you to additional kea literature lists, please utilise these for a more concise collection. If you know of any books, papers or journals which have not been included on this page, please contact us (Email Us) so that we may upload it onto the site.

Kea Specific

  • Anderson, R. 1986. Keas for keeps. Forest and Bird 17:2-5
  • Aspinall, J. 1990. Keas. Aspinall, Wanaka, New Zealand.
  • Benham, W. B. 1907. Notes on the flesh eating propensities of the kea (Nestor notabilis).Transactions of the Royal New Zealand Institute 39:71-89
  • Bond, A. B., Wilson, K.-J., Diamond, J. 1991. Sexual Dimorphism in the kea (Nestor
    notabilis). Emu 91:12-19
  • Bond, A., Diamond, J. 1992. Population Estimates of Kea in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Notornis 39: p 151-160.
  • Bond, A.B. & Diamond, J. 2005. Geographic and ontogenetic variation in the contact calls of the kea (Nestor notabilis). Behaviour 142: 1-20.
  • Bond, A.B. & Diamond, J. 1992. Population estimates of kea in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Notornis 39: 151-160.
  • Bond, A. B., Elliott, G. & Diamond, J. 2002. The Distribution of Relative Abundance in Keas (Nestor notabilis) and Kakas (Nestor meridionalis meridonalis) on the South Island of New Zeland: Inferences from the OSNZ Atlas Study. Unpub. ms, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
All the above Bond and Diamond papers may be downloaded from the University of Nebraska Lincoln digital library.
  • Brejaart, R. 1994. Aspects of the Ecology of Kea, Nestor notabilis (Gould), at Arthur’s Pass and Craigieburn Valley. [dissertation]. Otago:Lincoln University.
  • Bull, P.C.; Gaze, P.D.; Robinson, C. J.R. 1985. The Atlas of Bird Distribution in New Zealand.
    Cunningham, J.M. 1948. Number of keas. New Zealand Bird Notes 2(7): 154. Wellington: Ornithological Society of New Zealand.
  • Campbell, B.A. 1976. Feeding habits of the Kea in the Routeburn Basin. Unpublished thesis, University of Otago, Dunedin.
  • Clarke, C.M.H. 1970. Observations on Population, Movements and Food of the Kea (Nestor notabilis). Notornis 17: 2, p 105 – 114.
  • Dawson EW. 1959. Supposed Occurrence of Kakapo, Kaka and Kea in Chatham Islands. Notornis 8: 4, p 106-115.
  • Diamond, J. & A.B. Bond. 1989. Lasting responsiveness of a kea (Nestor notabilis) toward its mirror image. Avicultural Magazine 89: 92-94.
  • Diamond J, Bond A. 1999. Kea Bird of Paradox. The Evolution and Behaviour of a New Zealand Parrot. California: University of California Press, Ltd.
  • Diamond, J., Bond, A. B. 1991. Social behaviour and the ontogeny of foraging in the kea (Nestor notabilis). Ethology 88:128-144
  • Diamond, J. & Bond, A.B. 2004. Social Play in Kaka (Nestor meridionalis) with comparisons to Kea (Nestor notabilis). Behaviour 141:777-798
  • Diamond, J., Eason, D., Reid, C. & Bond, A.B. 2006. Social play in kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) with comparisons to kea (Nestor notabilis) and kaka (Nestor meridionalis). Behaviour 143: 1397-1423.
All the above Bond and Diamond papers may be downloaded from the University of Nebraska Lincoln digital library.
  • Elliott, G. & Kemp, J. 1999. Conservation Ecology of kea (Nestor notabilis). Department of Zoology. Dunedin, University of Otago.
  • Elliott, G. & Kemp, J. 2004. Effect of hunting and predation on kea, and a method of monitoring kea populations Results of kea research on the St Arnaud Range. Department of Conservation Science Internal Series 181
  • Elliott, G.; Kemp, J. In press: Historical changes and current status of a kea (Nestor notabilis) population: A population viability analysis. New Zealand Journal of Ecology.
  • Fijn, N. 2003. The Kea. Photographs by Rod Morris.Reed publishing Ltd. Auckland, NZ.
  • Fraser P. 2002. Kea – Nestor notabilis. Unpublished report as partial fulfillment of the Certificate in Captive Wild Animals, Unitec, New Zealand.
  • Freeman M, Jenkinson T. 2003. Kea, Nestor notabilis Behavioural Enrichment. Auckland Zoo Native Fauna Division.
  • Gajdon, GK. 2005. Kea Cognition. Biology of Cognition. University of Vienna. Retrieved 2nd April, 2005 from http://bnc.univie.ac.at/index.php?
  • Gartrell, B. D., & Reid, C. (2007). Death by chocolate: a fatal problem for an inquisitive wild parrot. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 55, 149-155.
  • Gould, J. 1856. On two new species of birds (Nestor notabilis and Spatula variegata ) from the collection of Walter Mantell, Esq. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 94-95.
  • Grant, A. 1993. Wild Kea Management Statement Canterbury Conservancy Miscellaneous Report Series Number 4, Department of Conservation.
  • Grant, A., O’Donnell, C., Garland, P. 1993. Population viability analysis. Kea (Nestor notabilis) and Kaka (Nestor meridionalis). New Zealand Department of Conservation and IUCN/SCC Captive Breeding Specialist Group. Christchurch, NZ.
    Hitchmough, R. 2002. New Zealand Threat Classification System Lists. Threatened Species Occasional Publication 23. Wellington: Department of Conservation. 210p.
  • Holdaway, R. N., Worthy, T. H. 1993. First North Island fossil record of kea, and morphological and morphometric comparison of kea and kaka. Notornis 40:95-108
  • Huber, L., Rechberger, S. & Taborsky, M. 2001. Social learning affects object exploration and manipulation in Keas, Nestor notabilis. Animal Behaviour 62: 945 – 954
  • Jackson, J.R. 1960. Keas at Arthurs Pass. Notornis 9: 2: p39 -58.
  • Jackson, J.R. 1963. The Nesting of Keas. Notornis 10: 5: p319 – 326.
  • Jackson, J.R. 1969. What do Keas die of? Notornis 16: 1: p33 -44.
  • Jackson, J.R. 1962. Life of the Kea. Canterbury Mountaineer 31: 120-123.
  • Johnston, R. 2001. Cunning Kea. Forest and Bird. 300:18 -19.
  • Keller, R. 1975. Das Spielverhalten der Keas (Nestor notabilis Gould) des Zürcher Zoos. Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie 38: 393-408.
  • Keller, R. 1976. Beitrag zur Biologie und Ethologie der Keas (Nestor notabilis Gould) des Zürcher Zoos. Zoologische Beitrag 22: 111-156.
  • Keller, R. 1972. A few observations on a Kea-family Nestor notabilis during a short stay at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust Annual Report, pp. 54-56.
  • Kemp, J.; Elliott, G.: In press: Nesting success of kea (Nestor notabilis) in New Zealand southern beech (Nothofagus spp.) forest. Notornis.
  • Kemp, J.R*, Mosen, C.C, Elliott, G.P, and Hunter, C.M (2018). Effects of the aerial application of 1080 to control pest mammals on kea reproductive success. Biodiversity Group, Department of Conservation, Private Bag 5, Nelson 7010, New Zealand.
  • Lint, K.C. 1958. High haunts and strange habits of the Kea. Zoonooz 31: 3-6.
  • Mallet, M. 1973. Nesting of the Kea, Nestor notabilis, at Jersey Zoo. Avicultural Magazine 79: 122-126.
  • McLelland, J. M., Reid, C., McInnes, K., Roe, W. D., & Gartrell, B. D. (2010). Evidence of lead exposure in a free-ranging population of kea (Nestor notabilis). Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 46 (2), 532-540.
  • Molloy, J, Bell B, Clout M, de Lange P, Gibbs G, Given D, Norton D, Smith N, Stephens, T. 2002. Classifying Species According to threat of extinction. A system for New Zealand. Threatened Species Occasional Publication 22. Wellington: Department of Conservation. 26 p.
  • Orr-Walker, T., Adams, N., Waran, N. 2005. Evaluation of captive kea (Nestor notabilis) management practices in New Zealand and their effect on behavioural repertoire. Unitec, New Zealand.
  • Orr-Walker, T. 2010. Kea (Nestor notabilis) Husbandry Manual.
  • Orr-Walker, T., Kemp, J, Adams, NJ and Roberts, LG. 2016. Strategic Plan for Kea Conservation.
    Peat, N. 1995. Kea Advocacy Strategy. Towards resolving conflicts between kea and people. Miscellaneous Report Series No. 28. Department of Conservation, Dunedin.
  • Potts, K.J. 1976. Comfort Movements of the Kea, Nestor notabilis (Psittaciformes: Nestoridae). Notornis 23: 4: p 302-309.
  • Potts, K.J. 1977. Some observations of the agonistic behaviour of the Kea, Nestor notabilis, in captivity. Notornis 24: 31-40.
  • Pullar, T. 1996. Kea (Nestor notabilis) Captive Management Plan and Husbandry Manual. Threatened Species Occasional Publication No. 9. Wellington: Department of Conservation. 15 p.
  • Reid, C. (2008). Exploration-avoidance and an anthropogenic toxin (lead Pb) in a wild parrot (kea: Nestor notabilis). (MSc), Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Reid, C., McInnes, K., McLelland, J. M., & Gartrell, B. D. (2012). Anthropogenic lead (Pb) exposure in populations of a wild parrot (kea Nestor notabilis). New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 36(1), 56-63.
  • Robertson, C.J.R., Hyvonen, P., Fraser, M.J., Pickard, D.R. 2007. Atlas of bird distribution in New Zealand. The Ornithological Society of New Zealand. Inc., Wellington,
  • Schmidt, C.R. 1971. Breeding Keas Nestor notabilis at Zurich Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 11: 137-140.
  • Temple, P. 1978. September edition. New Zealand Readers Digest
  • Temple, P. 1996. The Book of the Kea. Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Ltd. Auckland, New Zealand.
    Waitangi Tribunal . Chapter 8. The Crown’s Relationship with Acclimitisation Societies. Retrieved on 19th May from www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz, wai262, effective_exclusion, Chapter08.pdf
    Werdenich, D. & Huber, L. 2006. A case of quick problem solving in birds: string pulling in keas, Nestor notabilis. Animal Behaviour (In Press)
  • Wilson, K.J. 1990. Kea: creature of controversy. Forest and Bird 21: 20-26.
  • Wilson K-J. 1990b. The mating system and movements of kea. Acta XX Congressus Internationalis Ornithologici Supplement: 468 New Zealand Ornithological Congress Trust Board, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Wilson, K-J. & R. Brejaart 1992. The Kea – a bridf research review. In: Joseph. L. (Editor). Issues in the Conservation of Parrots in Australasia and Oceania: Challenges to Conservation Biology. RAOU Report No. 83: 24-28. Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, Monee Ponds, Victoria, Australia.
  • Zeigler, H.P. 1975. Some observations on the development of feeding in captive kea (Nestor notabilis). Notornis 22: 131-134.

Childrens Books

(please note that some of the childrens' books listed in our literature section may not send an appropriate conservation message to children).

Recommended titles which have been reviewed are highlighted in blue (any important notes are also in blue alongside the title).
  • Anderson, M. 1979. Home is the High Country – A Kea on the Roof. Reed Publishers Ltd.
  • Falla, M. 1974. A Kea on My Bed. William Collins (New Zealand) Ltd. Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Fijn, N. 2003. The Kea. Reed Publishing New Zealand Ltd. Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Lasenby, J. 1974. Charlie the Cheeky Kea. Golden Press Pty Ltd. Auckland, New Zealand. (Please note that the story mentions feeding chocolate to kea – chocolate is toxic to kea so please stress this to your little listeners!)
  • Martin, J. 2004. Mia the Kea. Jampot Productions. Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Scott, D. 1997. No More Moas. Scholastic NZ Ltd. Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Smith, C. 2012. Kaha the Kea.
  • Temple, P. 1986. The Legend of the Kea. Hodder and Stoughton Ltd. Glenfield, Auckland, New Zealand.

Adult Fiction

  • Temple, P. 1981. Beak of the Moon. Williams Collins Publishers Ltd. Auckland New Zealand.
  • Temple, P. 1993. Dark of the Moon. Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd. Auckland New Zealand.

Environmental Enrichment

  • Kreger MD, Hutchins M, Fascione N. 1998. Context, Ethics and Environmental enrichment in Zoos and Aquariums. In Shepherdson, DJ, Mellon JD, Hutchins M.(Eds.), Second Nature. Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 59-82.
  • Meehan CL, Mench JA. 2002. Environmental enrichment affects the fear and exploratory responses to novelty of young Amazon parrots. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 79: 1: p 75-88.
  • Meehan, C.L., Garner, J.P., Mench, J. A. (2004). Environmental enrichment and development of cage stereotypy in Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica). Dev Psycholbiol 44: p 209-218.
  • Mench J.A. 1998. Environmental Enrichment and the Importance of Exploratory Behaviour. In Shepherdson DJ, Mellon JD, Hutchins M. (Eds.), Second Nature. Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals. Smithsonian Institution Press: p 30-46.
  • Shepherdson DJ, Mellon JD, Hutchins M.(Eds). 1998. Second Nature. Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals. USA: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Young RJ. 2003. Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals. UFAW Animal Welfare Series. U.K : Blackwell Science Ltd.

Stereotypic (abnormal repetitive) behaviours

  • Carlstead K. 1998. Determining the Causes of Stereotypic Behaviours in Zoo Carnivores. Toward Appropriate Enrichment Strategies. In Shepherdson DJ, - Mellon JD, Hutchins M.(Eds.), Second Nature. Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals. Smithsonian Institution Press. p 172-183
  • Cooper JJ, Nicol CJ. 1995. Stereotypic Behaviour in Wild Caught and Laboratory Bred Bank Voles (Clethrionymus Glareolus). Animal Welfare 5: 245-257
  • Mason G J. 1990. Stereotypies: a critical review. Animal Behaviour 41: p 1015-1037.
  • Schoenecker B, Heller KE, Freimanis T. 2000. Development of stereotypies and polydipsia in wild caught bank volesnext term (Clethrionomys glareolus) and their laboratory-bred offspring. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 68: 4: p 349-357.


  • Christidis, L., Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO. Collingwood, Australia.


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