Blue-naped Parrot of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

on 4th May 2017

ParrotBlNp [AmarSingh] 4

“These uncommon Blue-naped Parrots (Tanygnathus lucionensis) can be easily found around Tanjung Aru Beach on the outskirts of the Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

ParrotBlNp [AmarSingh] 1

“Bird Life International lists this species as near threatened. The estimated population size of this narrow range parrots is 1500-7000 and is declining due to trapping and forest loss (see: HERE.

ParrotBlNp [AmarSingh] 3

“The small population at Tanjung Aru Beach owes its presence to Quentin Philipps, author of Phillipps’ Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, who is credited with saving them from the cage at a nearby market (see: HERE). The population is maintained but small, around 30-50, due to competition for nesting holes in the old, beach-side casuarina trees with other birds [Phillipps, Q. (2014) Phillipps’ Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo. 3rd Edition. Beaufoy Books, UK]. The population here is presumed to be T. l. salvadorii.

ParrotBlNp [AmarSingh] 2

“Unfortunately this beach has been designated for extensive development. A 133 hectare golf ‘retreat’, a marina, 7 hotels, 5,000 commercial & residential rooms, etc. The developer suggests that old trees will be transplanted and the parrots (and hornbills) will be re-located and offered nesting boxes at alternate sites (see: HERE). I am not sure the birds can be salvaged easily in this way and their future is uncertain. Local residents have launched a petition, see: HERE.

ParrotBN-nest hole [AmarSingh]ParrotBN-nest hole [AmarSingh]

“The nesting holes of the Blue-naped Parrot in old Casuarina trees (above). They compete with other birds for these sites.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Location: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Habitat: Coastal region
26-27th March 2017

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

One Response

  1. While natural tree holes would be ideal, in Singapore we have discovered that in the absence of these, other suitable cavities will do.
    Hornbills are breeding in several places on this island because artificial nest boxes have been made available.
    Yes, some parrots can be fussy, especially about the shape of the nest box, but from my own experience with a number of species in aviculture, many will take quite readily to artificial nest boxes.
    Since Tanygnathus parrots are not very large, it should not be too costly to construct and offer a variety of nest boxes. Some can be vertical, others horizontal, and others “L” shaped.
    By comparison, engaging a carpenter to build a hardwood box for a hornbill will cost several hundred dollars. The cost of hiring labour to install it up on a tree will perhaps cost the same amount. This was what was spent by my friend who has hornbills breeding in his garden, a photographic record of which was posted on this website.
    In contrast, I pay between $20 to $60 for my parrot nesting boxes, and since they are relatively small, if I wanted to, I could put them up a tree by myself.
    In the days when the bird trade was not so highly regulated, Tanygnathus parrots of various species did show up in shops here. But they were never popular as pets because they are not particularly personable nor colourful.

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