On 18th February 2011, a small flock of about ten Rose-ringed Parakeets (Psittacula krameri) landed on the fruiting mahogany tree (Swietenia macrophylla) by KC Tsang’s kitchen. The seed pods were then ripening with loud cracking sounds as their thick woody outer layers split open to expose the flat, winged seeds that then gradually fell off, twirling round like the rotor blades of the helicopter, to slowly, descend to the ground.
“I have found that parakeets in general to be very messy feeders. When they land on a starfruit tree (Averrhoa carambola), the fruits would get nibbled at, and the remainder, as much as 90% of the fruit, remains uneaten and discarded, to collect on the ground below to rot,” wrote KC. “…these Rose-Ringed Parakeets, this flock of females, behave the same way with the mahogany seeds. They would pick out a seed, and if they do not like it, it would be allowed to fall off from their beak (see video above). However to be fair to the birds I do not think there is much to be eaten from these very flat seeds.”
The next morning, KC had a flock of Red-Breasted Parakeets (Psittacula alexandri) visiting the mahogany tree (left). They too were after the seeds and behaving just like the Rose-ringed Parakeets, plucking the seeds from the pods and nibbling away at the more fleshy parts.
See Tanimbar Corella dealing with starfruits HERE. The corella only goes for the seeds, discarding the fleshy portion of the fruit.
This is a new food record for the Rose-ringed and Red-breasted Parakeets.
March On Into Spring – I and The Bird #146
[…] west across the vast Pacific Ocean, YC Wee of “The Bird Ecology Study Group” posts fantastic video and images of Rose-ringed and Rose-breasted Parakeets feeding on the seeds of mahogany trees in […]
Sharudin Jamal: I had been studying with great interest the mahogany seed. It had always been my suspicion that there is a species of animal that feed on the seed even though bitter seeds and fruits are not common in herbivore diet. Thanks for sharing the discovery.