“A pair of parakeets was spotted at Lorong Halus in Feb 2013 (below). They were perched on a near barren tree preening themselves. Nothing unusual, except that they were neither the resident Long-tailed nor the feral Red-breasted (Psittacula alexandri) and Rose-ringed (P. krameri) parakeets that are in the Singapore checklist.
“Apparently, these parakeets were not our native or feral birds, but an escapee species. Browsing through the web, Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) seemed to be the most likely species. They were far way from their natural home. Monk Parakeet is a South American bird.
“From Wikipedia: The Monk Parakeet, also known as the Quaker Parrot, is a species of parrot, in most treatments the only member of the genus Myiopsitta. It originates from the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries in South America.
“One year ago, in Feb 2012, while visiting the Singapore Airshow 2012 which was held at Changi Exhibition Centre, I have encountered the same species. There were at least 7 parakeets amongst the light fittings on top of the tall lighting tower in the open exhibit area. Interestingly, there were sticks jutting out from behind the lights (above), which could only mean that there was a nest behind. Doing a google search for “Monk Parakeet nest” yielded many fascinating images of nests.
“Monk Parakeets are unique among parrots – they are the only parrots in the world that builds nests out of sticks rather than nesting in cavities. However, their nests are unlike the platform nests that we usually get to see. Nests are fully enclosed with many nesting chambers constructed within. The number of nesting chambers in a nest usually varies from 2 to 20, each housing a pair of parakeets. But they can grow to be quite massive and impressive. It has been reported that one nest on a tower in Argentina contained more than 200 different nesting chambers!
“As Changi Exhibition Centre is normally out of bounds, the nest cannot be monitored. We can only wait for the next airshow to see whether the nest has grown, provided it remains undisturbed.”
Kwong Wai Chong
13th February 2013
Lee Chiu San
Dear Wai Chong,
Yes, the birds in your photos look to me very much like Monk Parakeets. They are prolific in aviculture. Several different colour mutations have been produced. They are also considered to be invasive, and there are restrictions on keeping them in some states in the USA.