Plum-headed Parakeet

The Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala) is a species of bird that is found in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is native to the Indian subcontinent. This bird’s natural habitat is forest and open woodland. Though not exploited heavily, aviculture is taking its toll on local populations of this species across most of its range. Population is reduced in urban areas and heavily inhabited regions.

The adult is about 13 inches long with a tail that can measure up to 8.75 inches long. The male’s head is red, becoming purple-blue on the back of the crown, nape and cheeks. It has a narrow black neck collar and a black chin stripe. The shoulder has a red patch. The rump and tail are blue-green. The tail is tipped white. The bill is orange-yellow on the upper mandible and darker on the lower mandible. The female has a gray head, yellowy upper mandible and no black neck collar. It also does not have the chin stripe and red shoulder patch seen in the male. The young have a green head and both mandibles are yellowish.

The Plum-headed Parakeet is a noisy bird with a wide range of raucous calls. The flight and contact call is a noticeable oink, that is repeated occasionally. It is gregarious and moves locally, depending on the availability of fruit and blossoms which make up its diet. The nest is a hole in a tree and the female lays 4 – 6 white eggs.

Stamps have been issued in Bhutan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka depicting the Plum-headed Parakeet. A famous bird breeder named Leslie Eaves became the first person to rear one of these birds in England.

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