Moluccan King-Parrot


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Moluccan King-Parrot

Alisterus amboinensis Scientific name definitions

  • LC Least Concern
  • Names (15)
  • Subspecies (6)

Identification

35 cm; 145–163 g. Head to nape and entire underparts red; upper mandible red, lower greyish; wings oil green; underwing-coverts, shoulder, lesser wing-coverts, mantle, back, rump and uppertail-coverts deep blue; tail blackish blue above, greyish below with undertail-coverts black edged red and three outer tail feathers dull pink on inner webs. Legs grey. Immature has green mantle, bill brownish black. Race sulaensis has variable green band across mantle, no pink edging on tail; versicolor like amboinensis but smaller; buruensis like sulaensis but pink retained, no red in bill; hypophonius has wings deep blue, no pink on tail; dorsalis like amboinensis but no pink on tail.

Systematics History

Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.Forms a species-pair with A. chloropterus. Race hypophonius differs from all others in this species in its blackish-blue vs green wings and scapulars (at least 3), but in no other known way; study needed. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies


SUBSPECIES

Alisterus amboinensis hypophonius Scientific name definitions

A. a. hypophonius

Distribution

Halmahera, in N Moluccas.


SUBSPECIES

Alisterus amboinensis sulaensis Scientific name definitions

Distribution

Sula Is (Taliabu, Seho and Mangole).


SUBSPECIES

Alisterus amboinensis versicolor Scientific name definitions

Distribution

Banggai Is (Peleng).


SUBSPECIES

Alisterus amboinensis buruensis Scientific name definitions

A. a. buruensis

Distribution

Buru, in S Moluccas.


SUBSPECIES

Alisterus amboinensis amboinensis Scientific name definitions

A. a. amboinensis

Distribution

Boano, Ambon and Seram, in S Moluccas.


SUBSPECIES

Alisterus amboinensis dorsalis Scientific name definitions

Distribution

W Papuan Is and NW New Guinea.

Distribution

Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future we will develop a range-wide distribution article.

Habitat

Canopy and lower stages of dense primary and secondary forest from lowlands at 200–350 m to around 1400 m, with one record at 1510 m on Seram (1); on Buru, found mainly at 1100–1500 m, but this is where the only primary forest remains, so may not be a genuine habitat preference. Occasionally at the edge of gardens and plantations; found in forest on poor soils on Halmahera, where apparently intolerant of habitat disturbance. Quiet behaviour in mid-canopy recalls Neotropical trogons (Trogon).

Movement

No information.

Diet and Foraging

Buds, seeds, grain, fruits, berries; recorded taking Lithocarpus acorns.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Most vocalizations involve repetitions of a single note, including a salvo-like “chak-chak-chak…”, a more spaced “krek!…krek!…” or a whistled “whee…whee…whee..”. 

Breeding

Feb–Mar. Nest in hole in large tree. Eggs apparently two; in captivity, size 33·8–37·2 mm × 27·4–28·1 mm (nominate) or 31–34·2 mm × 21·1–26·1 mm (sulaensis) (2), incubation 19 days, nestling period c. 9 weeks.

Conservation Status

Conservation status on BirdlifeLC Least Concern

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Overall a common species, but despite coloration unobtrusive and difficult to detect. Rare and threatened on Halmahera; confined to primary forest areas on Taliabu (Sula Is), where perhaps 5000 birds survive. Surveys on Seram and Buru in 1991 suggested densities of 8 birds/km² in primary forest and 52 birds/km² in logged forest; the population of race amboinensis alone may then have been 70,000 birds. Trade pressure not great owing to exceptionally high post-capture mortality rates, but quotas set for different subspecies do not appear to reflect their known status, rather the desires of the trading community, so baseline survey and monitoring needed throughout range.


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