Blossom-headed Parakeet sighted

posted in: Exotics, Parrots | 1

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.

  1. Lee Chiu San

    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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