Blossom-headed Parakeet sighted

on 20th October 2009

Jason Cho encountered and photographed a Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata) at Singapore’s Pasir Ris carpark in October 2007.

This is a resident of NE India, Bangladesh, SW and S China. In Southeast Asia it is uncommon to fairly common in Myanmar, parts of Thailand and Indochina.

There is a substantial international trade in this parakeet. This specimen is most probably an escapee.

Image by Jason Cho.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Note: Lee Chiu San believes the bird is a Plum-headed Parakeet (P. cyanocephala), see under comment.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

One Response

  1. In my opinion, the bird in the picture is a Plum-Headed Parakeet, (Psittacula cynocephala) and not a Blossom-Head.

    Neither of these birds is all that commonly-traded, but the blossom-head is by far the rarer of the two. In almost 50 years of keeping and breeding birds, I have seen less than a dozen blossom-heads, and only managed to acquire one pair, which I kept and observed for almost 10 years. Unfortunately, they did not breed.

    I have probably seen at least a hundred plum-heads.

    Distinguishing features are: the plum-head has a darker head, as the name implies, more plum-coloured.

    The plum-head has a small, dark patch, usually reddish, on the upper part of the wing. This appears visible in the photo.

    The blossom-head has a distinctly yellow tip to the tail, with a fairly clear demarcation between the yellow and the darker parts of the feathers.

    Even though the plum-head is smaller than the rose-breasted, long-tailed or other Psittacula species commonly seen in Singapore, the blossom-head is yet smaller, and very noticeably so.

    Confusion between the species can be forgiven, because quite a number of books refer to these two birds as local colour varieties, or subspecies, not full species.

    But in my opinion, having seen them both up close, and having lived with one species for quite a while, I am convinced that they are two separate species.

    By the way, among aviculturalists, Psittacula are known to be very long-lived birds, even though they are not large in size. Lifespans of 20 to 30 years are not uncommon.

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