This article discusses a parrot that stands out from the usual cute, colorful and talkative parrots. While most parrots are known for being lively and charming, this particular parrot is majestic and frightening. Its dark black tail, grey chest, and deep red scarlet feathers have earned it the nickname “Dracula Parrot” or “Gothic Parrot.”
This parrot is officially known as the Pesquet’s parrot, or Psittrichas fulgidus, but is commonly referred to as the Vulturine parrot or Dracula parrot due to its distinctive appearance. Despite its lack of cuteness, this parrot is still vibrant and unique, adding to the diverse and fascinating world of birds.
The Pesquet’s parrot, also known as the Vulturine parrot, is a unique and rare species of parrot. These birds are only found in the cloudy forests of the hills and lower mountains of New Guinea, with an estimated population of 21,000. On average, the Pesquet’s parrot measures about 20 inches (49 cm) in length and weighs between 600-800 g.
Despite being widely distributed but patchy in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the trading of their feathers has caused a decline in their population over the last decade. This has led the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to list the Pesquet’s parrot as a Vulnerable species. It is important to take action to protect these birds to prevent them from becoming endangered or even extinct.
According to the Red List, “Hunting for feathers has increased with population growth. Current rates of decline due to hunting are uncertain but could be relatively minor, and the species appears secure in large areas of suitable habitat in central and western mainland Papua New Guinea, much of which occurs in rugged terrain in areas with a low human population density.”
Unlike most parrots that move from branch to branch, the Pesquet’s parrot is a specialist feeder and exclusively feeds on mangoes and a few species of figs. This parrot is unique among its kind because it is one of three parrots that do not have feathers on their faces. Scientists believe that the lack of feathers around the beak and eyes helps prevent the bird’s face from becoming matted with sticky fruit pulp while feeding.
Parrot expert, Matt Cameron, from Australia, raises an interesting question about the Pesquet’s parrot. He wonders why bald-headedness is not more widespread among other fruit-eating parrots, considering that avoiding soiled and matted head feathers is a significant advantage for individuals. This unique trait of the Pesquet’s parrot is just one of the many fascinating features of this species.
Besides its distinctive look, the parrot’s sound is also a bit frightening, described as a “harsh and rasping growl,” and a “drawn-out scream” when the bird is in flight.
The Psittacoidea superfamily, which comprises true parrots, is classified into three families. The first family is the Psittacinae family of African parrots, which includes 11 known species. The most popular member of this family is the grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), which is found in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.
The second family is the Psittaculidae family of Asian and Australasian parrots and lovebirds. This family has hundreds of members, including lorikeets, budgerigars, and fig parrots.
Finally, the Psittrichasiidae family is divided into two subfamilies: the vasa parrots (Coracopsis), which are found only in Madagascar and other islands in the western Indian Ocean, and Psittrichasinae. The Psittrichasinae subfamily includes only the Dracula parrot and no other species.
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