Kea and kaka are large parrots with dull plumage, unlike other brightly colored parrots

This group of parrots is native to New Zealand and known for their intelligence, curiosity, and strong survival instincts. The genus includes several species, some of which have sadly become extinct, like the Norfolk Kaka and Chatham Kaka. The remaining species, such as the Kea, the Kaka, and the Norfolk Island Kaka, face various degrees of conservation challenges.

Nestor parrots are not typically known for the bright, flashy colors seen in tropical parrots. Instead, they exhibit more subdued tones of olive-green and brownish plumage, with splashes of brilliant color such as yellow, orange, white, and red that are often hidden beneath their wings and only visible during flight or specific behaviors. Their tongue is highly specialized with a brush-like tip, an adaptation shared with nectar-feeding lorikeets, which allows them to extract nectar and pollen from flowers.

Nestor parrots are highly intelligent, exhibiting problem-solving skills that are considered advanced among birds. They have been observed using tools and engaging in playful activities that also serve to test and manipulate their environment. Studies on Keas, for example, have shown their ability to solve complex puzzles and even work in teams, which suggests a high level of cognitive function.

Habitat destruction and human encroachment have had significant impacts on the Nestor species. The Kea, for instance, while not currently endangered, faces threats from accidental poisoning and conflict with humans, particularly in areas where they have been known to damage man-made structures out of curiosity.

The Kaka, more forest-bound than the alpine-inhabiting Kea, has suffered greatly from the loss of native forests in New Zealand. Additionally, introduced mammalian predators such as stoats, rats, and possums pose a significant threat to their eggs and chicks.