The Indian ringed parrot is the most common and widespread of the 330 species of parrot birds. This is a popular pet and the same “green parrot” from Little Red Riding Hood's song. It is as common in the cities of tropical Asia as pigeons are in Europe. Perhaps soon it will compete with them – feral parrots began to breed in European and other countries with a suitable climate.
Origin of the species and description
The full name is the Indian ringed, or Kramer's necklace parrot. Described in 1769. Belongs to the genus of Afro-Asian ringed parrots Psittacula. The genus name comes from the ancient Greek word meaning “parrot”. The specific epithet “krameri” is given in honor of the German physician and naturalist Wilhelm Kramer (1724-1765). “Ringed” or “necklace” these birds are named for the dark ring, “necklace”, covering the neck of males.
Video: Ringed parrot
Experts, although with difficulty, distinguish 4 subspecies of the ringed parrot:
- type subspecies that lives in the west and in the center of Africa;
- small-billed subspecies (P. k. parvirostris) , inhabiting the rest of the African range;
- the northern subspecies (P. k. borealis) inhabits the north of the Asian part of the range;
- the manila subspecies (P. k. manillensis) lives in the very south of the Asian continent and adjacent islands.
The difference between the subspecies is seen in color, tail length and size. So Asian subspecies are on average 2 – 3 cm longer than African ones. Which subspecies naturalize is not clear. After all, both newly caught birds and those that were bred in captivity as a result of selection get released. Necklace parrots and their closest relatives probably appeared between 66 and 30 million years ago. They split off from the parrots of Australia and the New World to evolve in their own way.
Appearance and Features
This type of parrot is small: the length (with the tail) is usually 40 – 42 cm, the wing is up to 16 cm long. About half of the entire length is the tail. The physique is slender and elongated, which indicates the ability to quickly fly and maneuver among dense branches. A seasoned bird weighs up to 140 g. As it should be for parrots, it has 4 fingers: two are directed forward, two are backward, this design provides a strong grip on branches and is convenient for walking on the ground.
The color of necklace parrots varies, which made it possible to select a lot of color variations for breeding in culture. In a typical case, a wild male is painted in a pure green color with a blue tint, camouflaging him among the vegetation. The feathers on the back of the head are bluish, the throat is black. A black stripe, like a pirate eyepatch, passes through the eye, and a black necklace with pink edging is girded around the neck. Powerful, typically parrot-like beak, bright red with a dark tip. Less noticeable parts are gray in color – legs and wings on the underside. Two long blue feathers stand out in the tail.
There is slight sexual dimorphism. The female is distinguished by a shorter tail, the absence of a black spot on the throat, an inconspicuous necklace of dark green feathers, and in general it is somewhat duller. Young birds are colored like the female, but even duller. Even their beak is light pink. Fully adult coloration appears at the age of 18 — 32 months.
Fun fact: White, yellow and blue birds can be found in captivity. Due to long-term selection, individuals with variegated plumage combining these colors have been obtained. In total, there are up to 200 shades and color types of the ringed parrot.
Where does the ringed parrot live?
This species is very common, has the largest range of all parrots.
In nature, it was originally found only on two continents, now it is being developed on the rest:
- in Asia (almost all of South Asia and southern Myanmar) at altitudes up to 1600 m, natural population;
- in Africa, the range stretches across the entire continent, covering the forest regions of the northern hemisphere between the Sahara desert and tropical rainforests (up to the line Burkina Faso – northern Somalia), at altitudes up to 2000 m, natural population;
- in Europe (London, Brussels, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, France) a total of 65 colonies of birds that have flown out of cages;
- feral birds also live in the USA;
- small introduction populations are found in South America (Venezuela), Cuba, the Middle East, Turkey, China, Japan, Uzbekistan (Tashkent), Azerbaijan (Baku), in the very south of Africa (South Africa), in Australia.
Birds have been seen in many other parts of the world, for example, in Lithuania, but so far they do not nest there, but only look closely. In nature, the favorite native habitats of green birds are tropical forests of any type, both wet (in Asia) and seasonal. It is indicated that this species is not uncommon in savannahs and areas overgrown with thorny bushes. The main thing is that there are tall trees on which he can nest.
The necklace parrot is perfectly adapted to life in nature, but especially welcomes areas developed by man. Cultivated fields provide a stable forage base, and residential and utility buildings provide many cozy and comfortable places for nesting. In cities, he prefers areas with good landscaping, old parks, etc. He is almost not afraid of people and willingly accepts food from them. In India, for example, in city parks, flocks of parrots flock to feed along with pigeons, hunt for nuts in the markets, snatching them from the stalls of gaping sellers.
Settling in new countries and continents, parrots prefer city parks and other plantations near housing with tall hollow trees and an abundance of fruit trees. At the same time, birds often choose the largest and most densely populated cities, such as London, Rome, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong.
Interesting fact: A bird was found in the Moscow region in 2006 , which lived in the summer cottage until February, withstanding temperatures down to -25ºС. She was fed with apples and various exotic fruits. Then the parrot was caught and the experiment stopped.
Now you know where the ringed parrot lives. Let's see what it eats.
What does the ringed parrot eat?
Cramer's Parrot — a real vegetarian and in nature does not consume animal food, although with a cellular content it is recommended to feed him with meat. He eats a wide variety of plants and their parts. For example, in the stomach of one individual, 45% of cereals, 38% of various tree fruits, 16% of oilseeds were somehow found. The specific menu is determined by the time of year and the presence of a particular food. So the menu can vary greatly in different areas.
The basis of the diet includes:
- juicy fruits of trees and shrubs according to the season, including mango and guava;
- in Europe they eat apples, pears, olives, mountain ash and whatever they can find;
- nuts, grains and various seeds (mimosa, ficus, grevia, cassia);
- crops (sunflower, peanuts, oilseeds, rice, sorghum);
- tree buds;
- the nectar of flowers, like a hummingbird;
- the flowers themselves. When the mass flowering of forest-forming species begins, their flowers can make up about half of the food.
We must honestly admit that this beautiful bird is a real pest, which has even been proven by scientists. Kramer's parrot prefers the abundance and availability of cultivated plants, retiring to the forest only in their absence. It causes great damage to farmers, eating their grown grain, fruits and berries. What he cannot eat, he simply spoils, pecking at the fruits and even tearing sacks of grain. In Pakistan, it is considered the main pest in sunflower fields; in India, in some years, it completely devoured mango and guava crops.
Interesting fact: Birds that have settled in cities often feed on bird feeders in parks and garden plots. They willingly take apples and other fruits from their hands.
Character and lifestyle features
The ringed parrot lives in large flocks and does not occur alone in nature. Flock sizes vary from a few birds to several dozen, although occasionally they gather together in thousands. For example, to master the harvest of some unfortunate farmer. They do not fly far unnecessarily and, having found an area rich in food, they move around it in noisy crowds. Neighborhood with other types of parrots, starlings — lanes and corvids, which are no less scandalous and noisy.
Birds spend most of the day in the crowns of trees, from time to time descending to the ground. They look for food, and after satisfying their hunger, they go to the nearest reservoir for a drink. Then they rest and feed again. In the evening they roost in the trees. In general, the daily routine is simple and quite rational. Cramer's parrots fly quickly and deftly, they walk on the ground waddling. But they can still climb the trunks, holding on to the bark with powerful claws and pulling themselves up with the help of their beak.
Cramer's parrot is loud and loud, sometimes unbearably. He is silent only when he eats, the rest of the time he constantly emits sharp, shrill screams in high tones, which can be called the soundtrack of rainforest life. To endure the presence of this feathered one in the house, one must love him very much. Life expectancy in nature is 10 – 12 years, in captivity with an experienced and caring owner, a bird can stretch up to 30 years.
Interesting fact: At a young age, these parrots are easily tamed and very sociable. Tamed birds can be taught to speak, although they are poor speakers compared to other species and can only speak 10 to 20 words. There is evidence that the limit of their memorization — 250 words.
Social structure and reproduction
These parrots can breed from 2 years old, but the usual age for marriage is 3 – 4 years. Like many parrots, they form permanent pairs, although they are not faithful to each other until death. The breeding season in the African part of the range — from August to November, in different countries at different times. In Asia — from December to May, in India, birds begin to incubate mainly in April.
Marriage games are accompanied by twitter. The male presents food to the female, standing on one leg. If she is satisfied with the gift, the couple proceeds to build the nest. To begin with, the spouses look for a hollow and peck at the entrance to it if it is too narrow. They can choose cracks in the rocks for nests, or, in villages, holes in buildings, in wooden poles of power lines. In principle, they can peck out hollows using their powerful tool, but they prefer ready-made ones. Including hollows abandoned by other inhabitants. The nest itself is a bowl lined with crushed wood and all sorts of plant debris.
The clutch contains 2(3)–4(6) eggs. The average size of the eggs is 30.5 × 24 mm, the shell is pure white. The female incubates them for 3-3.5 weeks. Newborns are naked and helpless, typically nestling type. Their parents, mostly the mother, feed them with semi-digested gruel from the goiter. Children stay in the nest for 6-7 weeks until they can feed on their own. In warmer countries, a pair manages to feed two broods.
Natural enemies of ringed parrots
The range of the species is large and the enemies, respectively, are different in each locality. In nature, there are not so many predators that encroach on necklace parrots. The bird builds nests high and hides them securely. She herself is well armed with a strong beak and claws and can repel a small predator.
But there are enemies:
- snakes that can eat eggs and chicks;
- jays destroy nests and peck chicks in Europe;
- birds of prey like hawks and falcons;
- climbing mammals like mongooses, martens, ferrets.
People are at enmity with parrots for obvious reasons, but they do not take global punitive measures and do not cause serious damage to their flocks. Unless catching for sale in pet stores in some places reduces their population, but on the other hand leads to the resettlement of these birds throughout the globe. This species can be called our old friend, it is very often found on sale, including in domestic pet stores. Considered easy to keep, fairly easy to breed, nutrition typical of many parrot species and no problem.
Fun fact: Cramer's ringed parakeets have been kept in the finest homes in Italy and Greece since antiquity. In India — it has been a pet for the last 3,000 years. In the Middle Ages, it was considered a prestigious bird of the nobility and depicted in numerous miniatures of the Mughal era among chic interiors.
Population and species status
According to the IUCN, this species has been classified as “Least Concern” for many years of observation. These birds not only successfully survive, but also thrive, increasing in numbers. However, no one counted the world stock of Kramer's parrots.
The Cramer's parrot has a vast range and is very common in almost its entire length. An expansion of the natural range was recorded in the 19th century, when agriculture began to develop, irrigation work began, new high-yielding varieties and effective technologies appeared. The parrots welcomed the emergence of new fields of grain crops and plantations of fruit trees with a surge in numbers. And immediately rushed to master them. For example, in Pakistan, scientists have linked the increase in the number of parrots with irrigation. Canals and structures were planted with cotton trees, which grow rapidly and reach enormous sizes. The trees provided the birds with a table and a home in the desert areas where they could not live before.
Introductory populations appeared as a result of trapping parrots for captivity. So in the period 1984 — 2007 about 146,539 birds were imported to Europe alone. Fugitive individuals took root in places and began to breed in new places. The systematic growth in the number of nesting sites is beginning to worry environmentalists in many countries. Parrots drive local birds out of their homes and take food from them. Resist even feathered wolves — gray crows. In the future, these birds can be expected to cause ecological trouble, so the species is listed in the International Invasive Species Database (GISD).
Fun fact: English parrots were first sighted in 1855. In 1995 There were about 1,500 of them, in 2011 – about 32,000. This is the oldest and largest introduction population, which lives mainly in London and the surrounding area.
The ringed parrot adapts to different living conditions and eats any food, which helps him survive in unusual places far from his homeland. Humanity is usually blamed for the destruction of its lesser counterparts, but in this case it can be blamed for spreading them. Such is the ironic joke of nature.