Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in Notornis, Volume 39(3), 1992. Published by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand (Inc.). Online at


The population dynamics of a local group of Kea (Nestor notabilis) was studied at a refuse dump in Arthur's Pass National Park over the course of three successive summers. The mean number of buds that foraged at the dump during the summer was estimated as 20 juveniles, 10 subadults, and 36 adults. An average of 11% of these birds were females. The number of adults was quite stable across years. The total population of Kea in this area was estimated to be between 88 and 119, or in the order of 0.018 to 0.040 buds per hectare. Mortality did not exceed 16-20% per year for adult and subadult buds, but it was probably higher for younger buds. Male juveniles all appeared to disperse from the area within the first two years; female juveniles, on the other hand, were frequently resighted in subsequent seasons. This difference in behaviour was statistically significant. The abundance of fledglings suggested that as few as 10% of adult males may breed in any given year.