Monk parakeets commune nesting at Pasir Ris Park

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Monk parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus, known as Quaker parrots are intelligent and social birds.  They originate from South America – Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia region – and were exported in large numbers in the pet trades during the 1980’s to North America and Europe.  They are much desired as pets as they can acquire human vocabularies. They have proven to be very adaptable in their new homes all over the world, including in Singapore.

Their diet comprise seeds of grasses, trees and palm nuts. They also feed on fruits, berries, flower petals and insects. They are viewed as pets in farmland areas.

Kwong Wai Chong reported seeing 7 monk parrots around the Changi Exhibition Centre in 2012 and one pair at Lorong Halus in 2013.  Thong Chow Ngian  also reported seeing them near an eagle’s nest in 2017.

On 26 January 2022, Wong Kais was at the Pasir Ris Town Park and noticed huge piles of sticks on the tops of 3 lighting towers at the Swimming Complex of the Sports Centre.  Closer examination revealed nest building activities by monk parakeets. The three lighting towers had large nest structures with different degrees of completeness. The largest nest had a lot of openings and was indicative of communal nesting.  The tops of the large nests were flat but during his period of observation, no eagles were sighted in the vicinity.

Photo 1. Ventral view of a monk parakeet. Light grey cheeks and scaled effects on its breast.
Photo 2. Grey cheeks and yellowish-green feathers on its back.
Photo 3. A bird busy adjusting the sticks during nest building.

 

Photo 4. A monk parakeet near one of the openings in the nest superstructure.
Photo 5. View of a nest on one of the lighting towers.
Photo 6. Two nest openings in the giant nest.
Photo 7. A lighting tower with sticks on its flat top.
Photo 8. An arrangement of sticks on the upper and lower sides of the flat tops of the lighting tower.
Photo 9. A closer view of the huge nest on the lighting tower.

 

Video by Wong Kais showing the monk parakeets collecting sticks to build the super large communal nest on a lighting tower.

All photos © Wong Kais.

Article by Teo Lee Wei.

References:

  1. Handbook of the Birds of the World © 1996 vol 4.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monk_parakeet

 

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