Blue-Crowned Hanging Parrots Foraging for Caterpillars

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates, Parrots | 3

“What do parrots eat? According to Wikipedia, the most important components of most parrots’ diets are seeds, nuts, fruits, buds and other plant material. A few species sometimes eat animals and carrion. The only animal food found in previous BESG postings for parrots was that of a bagworm ‘cocoon’ that the Red-Breasted Parakeets (Psittacula alexandri) were feasting on LINK. Now, we can add another record: the first animal food for the Blue-Crowned Hanging-parrot (Loriculus galgulus).

“I came across a flock of at least 3 Blue-Crowned Hanging-parrots foraging high in a tree recently. They were not easy to observe as they were foraging at a height of more than ten metres and were obstructed by foliage most of the time. It was a treat watching them walking calmly on the main stems of the compound leaves and hanging upside down to forage when they were in clear view.

‘After spending more than half an hour looking up, my tired neck was straining. But, the reward was some shots in good light, with a few sufficiently clear to show what the parrots were after (above). They were looking for caterpillars. Reviewing the heavily cropped pictures and checking from the time the images were taken, one female individual was seen handling three different caterpillars in a space of twenty minutes. All the caterpillars were not bashed before consumption. Two of them were gulped down without any fanfare, including one with the bird hanging in an upside down position. But one was seen in its bill for close to half a minute before disappearing down the parrot’s throat.

“I did not manage to capture the male parrot with food. But managed to capture a few images of this male individual, which was probably in moult (above). Its head, including its face and blue crown, was showing some whitish spiky projections that contrasted with its greenish plumage. Not sure whether these could be its new feathers.”

Kwong Wai Chong
28th June 2012


3 Responses

  1. Females tend to consume a little more animal protein prior to nesting and this behaviour is also observed in captivity.

    • Agree. But cannot dismiss that the male may have caught some caterpillars too.

  2. Tsebitai

    Yes, the whitish spiky projections that contrasted with its greenish plumage are new feathers.


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