Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues today with a parrot that lives Down Under: the Superb Parrot!
The Superb Parrot is a medium-sized species of parrot endemic to Australia, where it is found in the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria. They consume a diet primarily made up of plant material, including seeds, fruits, flowers, pollen, and nectar.
Superb Parrots have a mostly green body plumage. Male birds have yellow across the forehead, face, and neck, which is outlined by red at the top of the breast. They have pretty orange or yellow-orange eyes.
Superb Parrots are found in aviculture, or the pet bird trade, where they are known to live up to 30 years. They are known by other names in aviculture, including Barraband's Parrot, Barraband's Parakeet, and Green Leek Parrot.
Superb Parrot by Ron Knight (CC BY 2.0)
The Superb Parrot is our 631st Birdorable bird. Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a songbird found on both sides of the Pacific Ocean that goes by two common names. Can you guess tomorrow's species?
We've recently added the Pink Cockatoo to Birdorable as our 616th species and our 94th parrot species. This pretty bird is also commonly known as the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo.
Parrots are known for their longevity, and one particular famous Major Mitchell's Cockatoo recently celebrated his 82nd hatchday. Cookie is a handsome male bird who has lived at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo since the zoo opened in 1934.
Cookie was hatched on June 30, 1933, in his native Australia. The Guinness Book of Records recognizes Cookie as the oldest living parrot; the average lifespan for Major Mitchell's Cockatoos in captivity is 40-60 years. Cookie has smashed this record by a significant margin.
Here is video of Cookie's latest birthday celebration, which took place at Brookfield Zoo.
At first glance you may think that there are two different species of parrot in the above picture, but these are actually two Eclectus Parrots, with a male on the left and female on the right. The technical term for this is "sexual dimorphism", which in birds is often manifested in size or plumage differences. In birds of prey the female is usually bigger, and in ducks the male often has a much more colorful and complicated plumage than the female. With most birds in the parrot family the sexes are similar, but not in the case of the Eclectus Parrot. Males have a bright emerald green plumage and females are mostly bright red with some purple/blue plumage. Even the bill color is different.
The Eclectus Parrot is the most sexually dimorphic of all parrot species. The difference is so pronounced that the first European ornithologists to see Eclectus Parrots in the wild on their visits to South-East Asia and Australia mistakenly thought that they were two distinct species. In fact, males were first described in 1776 and females not until 61 years later. It wasn't until the early 20th century that they were finally considered one species.
The third bird in our 2014 Bonanza is a unique species of parrot, the Cape Parrot!
The Cape Parrot is endemic to South Africa. It is typically found in high altitude forest habitat, though it may also visit lowland coastal areas for feeding. Its diet consists of primarily fruits, seeds, and nuts. The Cape Parrot is Critically Endangered, due to habitat loss, persecution, and other factors. The species is particularly susceptible to certain disease outbreaks which takes a toll on the population as well. We can't talk about the Cape Parrot without talking about the closely related Uncape Parrot. The taxonomy of these species and subspecies has been in dispute and the Cape Parrot has only recently been recognized as a separate species. The Uncape Parrot is comprised of two main subspecies, known by the common names Brown-necked Parrot and Grey-headed Parrot. These are not considered threatened or endangered at this time.
Brown-necked Parrot by Alan Manson (CC BY-SA 2.0; modified)
The Cape Parrot and the Uncape Parrot both join Birdorable today, bringing our total number of bird species to 561. Our total number of parrots now stands at a whopping 90 species! Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a wading bird named for the color of its mug. Can you guess tomorrow's species?
Earlier this year we were asked by quilter Kate C. if she could use our cute Scarlet Macaw illustration as an inspiration for part of a quilt she was making for her granddaughter. We kindly agreed! Kate send us this photo of the macaw in the finished quilt. Isn't that cute?!
The Orange-winged Parrot is a fairly large species of parrot that lives in parts of South America. They feed on fruits, seeds, berries, and nuts. They like to hang out in small groups, usually pairs, during the daytime. At night, however, they become party animals! They gather in large roosts for sleeping; these roosts may contain several hundred birds.
Orange-winged Amazon (Amazona amazonica) by Papooga
Because of their beauty, Orange-winged Amazons they are popular birds in the pet trade. They have a very wide range in the wild, and though populations are decreasing, they are not in danger of extinction at this time. They may live up to 30 years in captivity.
Tomorrow's bird is known as BGGN to bird banders. Can you guess what it will be?