A preliminary study of kea (Nestor notabilis) habitat use and diet in plantation forests of Nelson, New Zealand

Aitken, J
Paterson, Adrian
Ross, James
Orr-Walker, T
Young, L
Journal Article
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::300301 Animal growth and development , ANZSRC::300302 Animal management , ANZSRC::300303 Animal nutrition , ANZSRC::3109 Zoology
Kea (Nestor notabilis) are nationally endangered, large endemic parrots in the South Island of New Zealand. In recent years, anecdotal evidence and sightings from forestry workers have confirmed that kea use exotic plantation forests in the Nelson/Tasman region. We documented kea habitat use and movements in Nelson plantation and neighbouring native forests. GPS-VHF units were used to track kea movements through the plantation-native forest matrix. All birds tracked in this study spent a notable proportion of their time in plantation forests, which included feeding, roosting and nesting. Feeding observations and faecal analysis were used to determine kea diet in plantation forests. In the summer, Pinus radiata seeds were commonly observed being eaten by kea, as was cambium tissue stripped off newly harvested Pseudotsuga menziesii logs. Of the items identified through faecal analysis, the most common group was invertebrates. This research was a preliminary study of kea activity in plantation forests and suggests the value of extending research to cover at least a full calendar year to record seasonal patterns in kea diet, habitat use and movements in and out of this habitat type.
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
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