A parrot in New Zealand has become Internet famous after stealing a tourist family’s GoPro camera and flying away to capture some gorgeous views of a national park.
Alex’s 13-year-old son Luca set the family’s GoPro action camera down on a railing to film the birds while the family watched them.
When one of the birds noticed the unattended camera, however, it quickly ran over, grabbed the camera in its beak, and flew away with it down the hill before the family could react and stop it.
Beautiful Aerial Footage Captured by a Parrot
The GoPro was pointed backward and captured some gorgeous aerial views of the landscape below during the bird’s 25-second flight to a tree branch some distance away. And once the bird landed, the camera kept on rolling as the bird did its best to rip off bits and pieces of the device to eat.
Luckily, the Verheul family somehow managed to recover the camera after they followed the bird’s chattering sounds down to the camera’s final resting place.
“We just followed the sound down there, we could see [the kea] hanging out in a tree — they’d obviously heard us coming and abandoned the GoPro,” Alex tells the New Zealand TV program Seven Sharp in an interview. “My son decided to go check the rocks where it looked like a good place for a bird to land, and there it was still sitting there, still filming.
“I downloaded [the footage] onto my phone […] It was amazing. It was totally unexpected.”
Luca can be heard shouting “I found it!” at the end of the viral 2-minute video.
Alex said the fellow tourists that were with the family at the hut loved seeing what was captured by the filmmaking kea parrot.
An Endangered Bird in Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park is the largest of the 13 national parks found in the island country of New Zealand, occupying an area of 4,868 square miles (12,607 square kilometers). The park is one of four national parks that are part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site.
Fiordland is home to a number of endangered native bird species, including kakapo (the only flightless parrot in the world, which is critically endangered) and the kea.
Kea once thrived in New Zealand, but they became endangered over time as bounties were placed on them by sheep farmers because the birds would attack livestock. After numbers drastically declined, New Zealand finally protected the kea in 1986 under the Wildlife Act 1953.
The parrots are famous for their curiosity and tendency to steal things from tourists, from wallets and bags to windshield wipers. As omnivores, kea parrots eat a diverse range of foods that include plants and insects, and it appears the birds occasionally enjoy snacking on plastic and rubber camera components as well.
Scientists estimate that there are now less than 7,000 kea parrots remaining on New Zealand.
Accidental Animal Filmmakers
This kea parrot joins a growing list of animals who have gone viral on the Internet after stealing a human’s camera while it was recording.
Other accidental animal filmmakers in recent years include a seagull who filmed itself flying into the sunset, a squirrel that filmed itself running through a tree, a bald eagle that took a GoPro for a joy flight, and a fox that stole a smartphone and recorded adorable sounds while running away.