33–37 cm; 56–85 g. Bill
yellowish above, black below; head crimson shading to greyish plum on mid-crown to nape and ear-coverts; black chin extending as a complete narrow collar, shaded blue-green below on back and sides of neck; underparts
yellowish-green; mantle and back
green, shading darker on wing-coverts, with a maroon patch on lesser wing-coverts, and darker again on flight-feathers; rump light blue-green, tail
blue-tipped whitish centrally, green-tipped yellow laterally. The Female has a purplish-grey head with no black, instead of an indistinct complete narrow yellowish neck-ring, no maroon wing-patch, creamy upper mandible. Immature has a green head, orange on forecrown.
Birds decrease clinically in size from N to S, and head and rump become darker, but limits to proposed N subspecies bengalensis too indistinct to make the name useful. Form rosa, in past erroneously associated with P. roseata, is a synonym of cyanocephala. Artificial hybrids of present species and P. himalayana shown to be responsible for the form treated in HBW as P. intermedia. Monotypic.
Indian Subcontinent from NE Pakistan to Bhutan and S to Sri Lanka.
Moist deciduous forest and wooded habitats and adjacent clearings and cultivated areas in lowlands and hills to c. 1300 m, using pine zone Pinus roxburghii in Pakistan foothills.
Resident, but with marked local movements in response to the food supply.
Diet and Foraging
More frugivorous than most Psittacula parakeets, and prefer small to large seeds. Fruit of Ficus and Ziziphus, buds, fleshy petals
, and nectar of plants such as Adhatoda vasica, Punica granatum, Salmalia, Butea, and Bassia, seeds of thistles Echinops and Cnicus; feeding in Casuarina also noted. Sometimes visits cultivations inside the forest in flocks of several hundred, doing much damage to crops including rice, sorghum, maize, vegetables, and orchard fruit.
Sounds and Vocal Behavior
Commonest vocalization a steeply up slurred nasal whistle, “huEET!”. When perched, utters a wider variety of nasal squeaks and chirrups, often in song-like phrases or in loud chorus by several members of a group.
Dec-Apr; in Sri Lanka also occasionally Jul–Aug. Nest in a hole in tree trunk or bough, often in small colonies within one tree or group of trees; tall Pinus roxburghii are favored in Pakistan, while a Parkia recorded in Sri Lanka. Eggs 4–5, rarely 6; in captivity, incubation lasts 24 days, nestling period 6 weeks.
Not globally threatened. CITES II. Fairly common in Nepal, but with an apparent decline in Kathmandu Valley. In India generally common. Formerly abundant in the lowlands of Sri Lanka, but habitat loss has forced range inwards, and now only common at mid-altitudes.
Pricing for this Plum-headed Parakeet ranges from $400 to $700