Kea Bird of the Year

by Anonymous Author

The kea has been crowned New Zealand’s Bird of the Year after two weeks of heated campaigning.

The kereru came in second with 4,572 votes, followed by the kakapo with 2,554 votes.

This is the first time the kea has won Bird of the Year title. It came second to the kokako in 2016.

These large, green mountain parrots, often seen in the foothills of Selwyn and around Arthur’s Pass, are known for their curiosity and intelligence.

Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, they are now classified as Nationally Endangered with just 3,000 to 7,000 birds remaining.

Like many of New Zealand’s native birds, kea are vulnerable to predation by introduced mammalian predators. Bird of the Year is one of Forest & Bird’s most popular annual events. It aims to raise awareness for New Zealand’s unique native birds and the threats they face by asking people to vote for their favourite species.

This year was the competition’s most popular yet. It attracted over 50,000 votes, up from 20,000 in 2016. Bird of the Year also attracted worldwide coverage, with the competition being featured by the BBC. 

The competition has also raised over $10,000 in donations to help Forest & Bird continue its work to protect and restore New Zealand’s wildlife and wild places.