Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.


' ▼ ■ 1 There is now in the London “ Zoo ” a very remarkable bird, the Nestor | notabilis, or Mountain Kea, of New J Zealand. It is a parrot of strong frame and powerful bill and claws, which were 1 used like those of all parrots, for obtaining a vegetable diet, until the colonists 5 introduced sheep and pigs. As soon as this was done the Kea seems' to have *. abandoned vegetable food, and i taken entirely to flesh-eating. Heg atJ . tacks sick or dying or disabled sh£fep, and with his powerful cutting beak - opens a passage through.the back,, and 3 eats the intestines. Even healthy ani- ’ mals are sometimes, assailed - by' the j Nestor notabilis, and there .are sheep- . runs in New Zealand where considerf able losses have been incurred through these strangely degenerated birds. The 5 specimen in the Zoological Gardens gave as much trouble to capture as an r eagle, tearing the clothes of the shepherd, who knocked it down while 1 pouncing on a iamb, and lacerated his . hands. 'The Kea scorns cooked meat, biscuits," fruit, or seeds, and likes raw

mutton better than any food. He will tear the skin and flesh from a sheep’s head after the furious fashion of a vulture, leaving nothing but the bare skull. JJe at one time holds the morsels in his lifted claw, after the style of parrots, and at another grips them under his feet while rending with his beak like a hawk. This is a very curious example of change of habit, for there is every reason to believe that before sheep and pigs were introduced into New Zealand the Kea was as firugiverous in its means as most, if not all, other parrots. He will now eat

pork and beef as well as mutton, and bas become, in fact, utterly and hopelessly carnivorous. It is to be feared, after this example, that temptation is often fatal to birds and beasts as well as man. Had it not been for Captain Cook and the English sheep flocks, the Nestor notabilis would have lived and died innocent of crime ; but now its bloodstained carcase is suspended outside many a sheepfold near Otago. _

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

Bibliographic details

A CURIOUS BIRD., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 509, 15 December 1881

Word Count

A CURIOUS BIRD. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 509, 15 December 1881

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.