The kea has been named New Zealand’s Bird of the Year.
Dubbed ‘the clown of the mountains’, the green mountain parrot took the title for the first time in a poll run by the country’s Forest and Bird organisation, which attracted 50,000 votes.
“We literally went out to every single person we knew and asked them to vote kea. We lobbied hard to get votes up on the first day, which I think made a big difference, ” Team Kea organiser Laura Young said.
The vote was intended to raise awareness of the country’s endangered wildlife, and organisers Forest and Bird say that there are as few as 3,000-7,000 kea left in the wild. Their inquisitive nature means that they are sometimes struck by cars, get stuck in human-made objects, or become ill from human food fed to them out of misplaced kindness.
Voting numbers were up by 150% over 2016. It also resulted in NZ$10,000 in donations to Forest and Bird.