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1032146.  Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:38 am Reply with quote

Hi everyone! New here...

But I'm a bit baffled that they said kea are stupid! I thought they were considered to be intelligent and can problem-solve like crows... there are a few documentaries (maybe even BBC ones) on them that can be found online!

1032330.  Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:36 pm Reply with quote

I was horrified to hear the otherwise brilliant Stephen Fry state that kea are stupid. They are in fact one the world's most intelligent creatures, and as such, their intelligence has been scientifically investigated and been the subject of many books and television programs. One research group has even studied their ability to use computers.

They possess both cognitive intelligence, in terms of solving complex problems, and emotional intelligence, such as humour, guilt and other higher forms of emotion.

Stories about kea are legendary in New Zealand. For instance, the exterior locks (bolts) to alpine huts in New Zealand are connected to the interior locks because kea would lock climbers in the huts, purely for mischevious purposes. They steal nuts, bolts and nails from building sites, and arrange them by type and size. They will knock each other off boulders so that they are in frame when someone takes a photo. They will play for hours pushing rocks into water tanks. They will unbuckle and then empty your backpack to get to your lunch. They will take an active interest in anything you do. They use sticks and stones as tools.

They are considered to be clowns, lovable rascals, incredibly naughty, but above all, intelligent.

1032331.  Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:11 pm Reply with quote

I thought a bit about it when he said the birds are stupid for going to investigate and you can just club them to death. By my reasoning, a stupid animal (like cows and many other herbivores) would simply leave it be. You disappeared, okay, you're not there, let's go back to eating grass.

To measure intelligence in other animals by human standards is not fair and gives a very narrow view of the world. First of all there's different types of intelligence, like logical and emotional, and secondly a lot of animals are able to do impressive things like dive very deep or express impressive behaviour that isn't connected with their intelligence at all.

Then again, maybe Stephen just isn't fond of birds in general...

1035649.  Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:33 pm Reply with quote

Just for anyone interested...

1036766.  Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:40 am Reply with quote

This documentary gives a good idea of the Kea's intelligence and personality:

Sasha Munchy
1070959.  Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:03 pm Reply with quote

They are one of the only birds that work together to solve problems

1071074.  Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:30 am Reply with quote

Ooh - interesting! What's your source for that assertion?

1071557.  Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:53 pm Reply with quote

He left a sudoku page from a newspaper at the bottom of their cage, and they worked together to solve it?

1100252.  Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:31 pm Reply with quote

Good, I'm not alone in my thoughts about that comment.

I think it was a panelist who stated that they thought Kea's were stupid.

There are a lot of studies and youtube clips that show just how smart they are.

Living in New Zealand, I have had the chance to see and interact with them. They are amazing birds. I believe they are the only alpine parrot in the world. If it was legal to have one as a pet, the Kea would be my first choice.

1100386.  Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:45 pm Reply with quote

To be fair to Stephen, he got to see up close how dumb these birds an be:


1100522.  Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:59 pm Reply with quote

Interesting link from CB27, but its not a Kea. Here are a few clips on the Kea which show how smart they are (in both senses of the word).

1100526.  Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:46 pm Reply with quote

The link to the kakapo CB27 provided did give me an excuse to watch Last Chance To See, though, so I don't mind.

The clips of actual keas were at least as entertaining, although I generally don't like the American-ism of the first clip. Just that way of making animal, or any documentary/list program seems like it's marketed at either young children or very stupid adults. I still like the information it gave, just not the way it was delivered. (Yes, I know I am hard to please.)

1100618.  Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:50 pm Reply with quote

Damn, this is not the first time I mixed up the two birds, and I don't know why.

1100619.  Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:53 pm Reply with quote

A bird is a bird is a bird is a reptile. :P

1100655.  Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:23 pm Reply with quote

That alright CB27. Is it weird that when I read your post I heard bells and sirens in my head?

Slightly off topic - If anyone is interested in birds and wants to find out about another amazing (but now extinct) bird from New Zealand, search Haast's Eagle. In a way, you have to ask yourself, how did this bird die out and the Kakapo and Kiwi survive.


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