Blog Archive: Parrots

Birdorable Australian King-Parrot

2019 Bonanza Bird #3: Australian King-Parrot

December 5th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, Parrots No comments
Birdorable Australian King-Parrot

Today's new Birdorable species is a parrot endemic to Australia, where it is found along the eastern coast. Today we introduce the Birdorable Australian King-Parrot!

Australian King-Parrots display sexual dimorphism -- males and females have different coloration. Our Birdorable cartoon is of a male bird, which has red on the head and chest, with blue-green elsewhere. Females have a similar color palette but the arrangement is different: green at the head, back and chest; red at the belly; and blue at the rump.

Australian King-Parrots are fairly gregarious and can be found flocking with rosella parrots within their range.

Male Australian King Parrot by Mike's Birds (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Female Australian King Parrot by Tatters (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow we'll add a duck to Birdorable! The new species is known for its bright feet and beak, and belongs to a family named for the way it sounds! Can you guess the species?

Birdorable African Grey Parrot

World Parrot Day

May 31st, 2019 in Parrots No comments
Birdorable Parrot Heart

World Parrot Day is celebrated this year on May 31, 2019. The first World Parrot Day was in 2004.

The event was initiated by the World Parrot Trust as an opportunity to highlight threats to wild and captive parrots around the world. Actions that began on that first World Parrot Day led to the eventual ban of wild bird imports into Europe.

Birdorable Scaly-headed Parrot

2018 Bonanza Bird #10: Scaly-headed Parrot

December 2nd, 2018 in Birdorable Bonanza 2018, Parrots No comments
Cute Birdorable Scaly-headed Parrot

Today we wrap up our 2018 Birdorable Bonanza with a species of South American parrot: the Scaly-headed Parrot!

This pretty bird is a medium-sized parrot native to eastern parts of South America, where it can be found in a variety of forest habitats. It is named for the scalloped feathers on its head that look like scales.

Scaly-headed Parrots are one of the most popular species of pet bird, and are thus known by a variety of alternate names, including Scaly-headed Pionus and Maximilian Parrot. They can live to be 40 years old or more when well cared for in captivity.

Thanks for following along during our 10th annual Birdorable Bonanza!

Birdorable Superb Parrot

2015 Bonanza Bird #15: Superb Parrot

December 15th, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds, Parrots 3 comments

Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues today with a parrot that lives Down Under: the Superb Parrot!

Birdorable 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 (Polytelis swainsonii)
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?

Birdorable Pink Cockatoo

Cookie the Famous Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

August 12th, 2015 in Cockatoos, Parrots No comments
Birdorable Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

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.

Birdorable Eclectus Parrot

Extreme Sexual Dimorphism in Eclectus Parrots

February 19th, 2015 in Parrots No comments
Birdorable Male and Female Eclectus Parrots

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.

Eclectus Parrot 3
Photo by raider of gin (CC BY 2.0)