Green parakeet

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Green parakeet
Green Parakeet -in tree -South Texas-8.jpg
Nominate in south Texas, United States
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Arinae
Tribe: Arini
Genus: Psittacara
Species: P. holochlorus
Binomial name
Psittacara holochlorus
(Sclater, 1859)

The green parakeet (Psittacara holochlorus) is a medium-sized parrot that is native to Central America, from the southernmost tip of Texas south to northern Nicaragua. This species was formerly placed in the genus Aratinga as A. holochlora and divided into various subspecies (A. h. holochlora, A. h. brevipes, A. h. brewsteri, A. h. strenua, and A. h. rubritorquis).[2][3] Later it was split into three species as green conure (A. holochlora), pacific conure (A. strenua), and Socorro conure (A. brevipes).[4] Today it is recognised as single species with a highly threatened subspecies (Psittacara holochlorus brevipes) endemic to Socorro in the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico.[5]

Description[edit]

The bird is 32 cm in length, and is mostly green in color. It also has a yellow beak. The bird feeds on seeds, various fruits, and corn. It can sometimes be considered a crop pest. Wild birds primarily use scrub and swamp forests, woodlands, and forest clearings. The US population takes advantage of palm groves in cities.[3]

Ecology[edit]

Green parakeet pairs usually find holes in trees to nest in where the female lays three or four eggs. It will also nest colonially in crevices on cliff faces. After the breeding season is completed, the birds will form large communal roosts.[3]

Distribution[edit]

The species occurs from southern Texas and northern Mexico (including P. h. brevipes on Socorro Island) south through the Middle American isthmus to south-western Nicaragua. It inhabits a variety of woody habitats.[1] In western Nicaragua their nesting sites lie within the El Chocoyero - El Brujo Protected Area, but the birds still face threats from the outside world when they leave the reserve to feed.

The brevipes subspecies is highly threatened by habitat loss due to feral sheep and predation by feral cats. Surveys from 2006 and 2007 estimated a population of c. 300 individuals, suggesting a population decline from previous population estimates. [1]

The status of populations in southern Texas is unclear, with some claiming them to be feral escapees. However, the groups in the Rio Grande Valley are now generally regarded as naturally occurring because of the proximity of confirmed native populations, the deforestation of Tamaulipas which forced them to disperse, and earlier evidence from 1911 of these parakeets consuming a strawberry harvest at Combs.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2014). "Psittacara holochlorus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Forshaw, Joseph M. (1978). Parrots of the World (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Lansdowne Editions. p. 392. ISBN 0701806907. 
  3. ^ a b c Josep del Hoyo; Andrew Elliott; Jordi Sargatal, eds. (2009). Handbook of the Birds of the World. 4. Buteo Books. p. 190. 
  4. ^ Stotz, Douglas F. (1996). Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press. 
  5. ^ BirdLife International (2017). Species factsheet: Psittacara holochlorus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/03/2017.
  6. ^ "The Texas Breeding Bird Atlas: Green Parakeet". Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "National Geographic" Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
  • "National Audubon Society" The Sibley Guide to Birds, by David Allen Sibley, ISBN 0-679-45122-6