Double-eyed Fig Parrot

The Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma), also known as the Blue-faced Fig Parrot, Red-faced Fig Parrot, Dwarf Fig Parrot, and the Two-eyed Fig Parrot, is a species of bird found in the forests of New Guinea and nearby islands. It is also found in isolated regions along the tropical Australian coast, east of the Great Dividing Range. There are eight recognized subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig Parrot. The first five are restricted to New Guinea, the other three are restricted to Australia.

The adult is approximately 5.5 inches in length and is the smallest parrot in its region. The male has more red and less silvery blue to the face than the female. It is a mostly green bird with a short tail, an excessively large head and bill, and red and blue facial markings. Its name is derived from the cheek patches that vaguely resemble eyes. The call is a high-pitched zzzt-zzzt or zeet-zeet that is given in two or three notes. The call is made mostly during flight, but sometimes when perched. It makes a soft chattering noise that is sometimes given while feeding.

The Double-eyed Fig Parrot forages for figs, berries, seeds, nectar, and the grubs of wood-boring insects. This bird forages in pairs or groups of usually just a few individuals. Its flight is quick and direct. Unlike other parrots that usually use existing holes in trees for nests, this species makes their own nest cavities, usually in a rotten tree.

Though this species as a whole is evaluated as Least Concern by the IUCN, some subspecies are threatened. Coxen’s Fig Parrot is one of Australia’s rarest birds, having only been recorded 200 or fewer times since its discovery in 1866. Clearing of lowland subtropical rainforest is a huge factor for the decline in population of the subspecies.

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