Red breasted Parakeet - Identification Psittacula alexandri

Red breasted Parakeet


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Red breasted Parakeet

Identification

33–38 cm; 133–168 g. Bill red, tipped yellow; head pale blue-grey with a thin black line from cere to the eye, black chin and lower cheeks; underparts pink from throat to mid-belly, then pale green; sides of neck, nape and upperparts green, with yellowish wash on median wing-coverts. Female has duller pink underparts. Immature 

 

has green head and underparts. Race kangeanensis has less blue in the head, yellower wing-patch; dammermani larger; fasciata has a blue tinge to head, darker pink breast with a light blue wash, lower mandible blackish; abbotti like fasciata but larger and paler; cala like abbotti but less blue suffusion in pink; major like cala but larger; perionca like major but slightly smaller, belly and vent brighter.

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.

The closest relatives may be P. derbiana and P. caniceps, despite size differences. N subspecies fasciata is relatively distinctive for having bluish in head and breast, whereas other subspecies have a grey head and clear pinkish breast, but black lower mandible of fasciata is shared by birds from W Sumatran islands; further research needed. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies

Introduced (nominate race) to Singapore and C Japan; in Singapore, breeding regularly since the mid-1980s. Borneo population commonly considered introduced, but this not necessarily correct.


SUBSPECIES

Psittacula alexandri fasciata Scientific name definitions

Psittacula alexandri fasciata

P. a. fasciata+1

Distribution
N India (from W Uttarakhand) E through Nepal, Bhutan, E Bangladesh, Myanmar (S to Tenasserim), Thailand and Indochina to S China and Hainan.

SUBSPECIES

Psittacula alexandri abbotti Scientific name definitions

Distribution
Andaman Is.

SUBSPECIES

Psittacula alexandri cala Scientific name definitions

Distribution
Simeulue I, off NW Sumatra.

SUBSPECIES

Psittacula alexandri major Scientific name definitions

Distribution
Lasia I and Babi I (off SE Simeulue).

SUBSPECIES

Psittacula alexandri alexandri Scientific name definitions

Psittacula alexandri alexandri

P. a. alexandri+1

Distribution
Java, Bali and extreme S Borneo.

SUBSPECIES

Psittacula alexandri kangeanensis Scientific name definitions

Distribution
Kangean Is, off NE Java.

SUBSPECIES

Psittacula alexandri dammermani Scientific name definitions

Distribution
Karimunjawa Is, off CN Java.

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

Moist deciduous forest, secondary growth, mangroves, teak and coconut plantations, woodland adjacent cultivation and villages, in foothill and lowland areas, generally avoiding dense evergreen closed-canopy forest.

Movement

Generally sedentary but with local irregular movements sometimes coinciding with food supply changes or, in N of range, periods of cold weather. In a dry dipterocarp forest in W Thailand with high densities during the breeding period (3·8 birds/ha), there were almost no observations during the post-fledging period May–Aug (1).

Diet and Foraging

Little specific information: nectar 

 

and flowers of SalmaliaBombaxButeaParkia speciosa and Erythrina variegata, seeds of Albizia, chestnuts (Castanea), fruits of Ficus, bananas, leaf buds of teak, rice, and other grain recorded.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Commonest vocalization a short very nasal downslurred or overslurred squawk, often repeated in loose series or in fast bursts, e.g. “kyah…kyah..” or “keh. When perched, repertoire becomes more varied and includes a ringing “krrreeeah”, a scolding “screee” and various squabbling notes.

Breeding

Generally, Dec-Apr in continental Asia, including Singapore and Andaman Is; every month but Apr on Java. Nest in a hollow limb or hole in a tree, often with several pairs occupying adjacent trees. In a dry dipterocarp forest area in W Thailand, nine active nests were found between mid-Nov and mid-Apr, all cavities being in live excavated trees 3·5–11·8 m above ground, with minimum entrance diameter 5–8 cm. Eggs 3–4, size 29–31·9 mm × 24·1–24·6 mm (race abbotti) ; in captivity, incubation c. 28 days, and nestling period c. 50 days.

Conservation Status

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. CITES II. In continental Asia the species is generally common throughout its range, also the Andamans were at least formerly considered the commonest bird of the islands, and may do serious local damage to crops; also considered the commonest parrot in S Indochina around 1930. However, there has been a considerable decline in numbers and range within Thailand and Laos in recent years and the species is probably uncommon in China. Moreover, with the exception of Nias (where it was common as a cage-bird in 1990), there appear to be no recent reports from many of the small Indonesian islands where it occurs (it was under potential threat from trade on Simeulue, 1981), it is only very locally common in Kalimantan, and on Java and Bali, it has suffered declines and local extinctions in response to the local cagebird trade. International trade is high: a total of 66,601 live birds were recorded in the period 1987–1992, chiefly coming from Vietnam (42%), Indonesia (27%), and India (15%), and chiefly going to Singapore (28%), Japan (21%) and USA (12%).


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