Red-Breasted Parakeet & Tanimbar Corella Feeding on Mango

on 12th January 2013

“The Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot LINK and Black-naped Oriole LINK are two species that have been documented to feed on the mango fruit (Mangifera indica). Attached are images of another two species, namely the Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) and Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini), that were seen feeding on the fruit.

“The Red-breasted Parakeet have been encountered, on a few occasions, feeding on the mango fruit (above and below). From what have been observed, this species seemed well-adapted at peeling off the skin to savour the juicy flesh underneath. Although I have not personally seen the parakeet eating a mango fruit from the beginning, it can be deduced that there is a systematic way that this species deal with the mango. As seen from the pictures, the top portion of the fruit is always eaten first. Hanging upside down, the parakeet will use its upper mandible to act as a fulcrum, moving only its lower mandible to peel off the skin. The skin will be torn off and discarded, after which the exposed flesh will be eaten. Gradually, the outer skin of the mango remaining at the bottom will become smaller as the parakeet ate its way down. When fully consumed, the mango will be left with only its seed. A strange sight of a seed still attached to its stem and left dangling in the air is sometimes encountered. Other times, an almost fully consumed mango will be left dangling in the tree – with part of its skin intact, but devoid of flesh.

“Compared with the Red-breasted Parakeet, the Tanimbar Corella did not seemed to savour the mango as much (below). While the parakeet species was seen spending a long time savouring the mango fruit, the corella species was seen to spend little time feeding on the fruit. After tearing off and consuming little bites of the flesh, one lost interest and flew off. Another bird was seen attempting to feed from the bottom of the fruit. Perhaps, the Tanimbar Corella find it difficult to get at the flesh as it has yet to master the skill of peeling off the fruit skin?”

Kwong Wai Chong
29th December 2013

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

6 Responses

  1. Hi Wai Chong,

    The Parakeet in your photo is a local, native (Psittacula longicauda) and not a foreign talent (Psittacula krameri). Longicauda has a distinct black moustache, and a thick, black chin patch that does not extend far behind the cheeks. Krameri, also known as the ringneck parakeet, has a thinner black band that goes almost all the way round the neck, though it does not quite meet on the nape.

    As for whether or not both species of parrots like eating sour mango, I think that they are doing so out of hunger, not choice. From my experience of parrots in aviculture, all of them have sweet beaks, and will go for the ripest fruit available. Adding sugar or condensed milk to the diet is one way of tempting picky eaters to start feeding, though for health reasons,this has to be done in moderation. However, it has been recorded that bitter food does not turn them off.

    1. Thanks. But you could be tricked due to the birds’ upside-down stance. Both parakeets shown are neither the Long-tailed nor the Ring-necked. With grey crowns and faces, they can only be Red-breasted.

      Copied from the Birds of Singapore website:

      Long-tailed Parakeet
      Psittacula longicauda Crown green. Cheeks and face pinkish-red, extending onto the nape in males. Broad moustachial stripe, black in males, dull greenish-black in females. Immature birds like females, but with shorter tails.

      Red-breasted Parakeet
      Psittacula alexandri Crown and face grey, broad moustachial stripe, breast and upper belly reddish-pink, wing coverts yellow. Bill black in females, red in males. Immature birds like females, with shorter tails, yellowish wing coverts, and without the reddish-pink breast and upper belly. Malar band duller.

      Rose-ringed Parakeet
      Psittacula krameri Crown and face green. Males with chin and throat black, extending to nape, with a fine pinkish-red collar below it. Head entirely green in females, no black on chin and throat, no black or pinkish collar, bill red. Immature birds like females, with shorter tails and blackish bills.

    1. Dear Chiu San

      No problem. Readers here, including myself, have lots to gain from your vast knowledge, especially on aviculture.

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