Saturday, 1 January 2011

Brown-necked parrot

Poicephalus robustus

(Photo from Pinterest)

Common name:

Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

They are mostly found in east Africa, in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. Some occur in west Africa, along the border between Angola and Namibia, and they are also found in the eastern half of South Africa.

These medium-sized parrots are 33-35 cm long. Males are larger than females. Males weigh 300-400 g while females weigh 280-350 g.

They occur in a range of habitats including Podocarpus forests, riverine woodlands, savanna woodlands, mountain forests and lowland forests. The habitat preferences vary depending on the subspecies and part of their range.

Adult brown-necked parrots are strictly frugivorous, foraging on the fruits of a range of African trees, mostly yellowwoods (Podocarpus) and their relatives.

They mostly breed in August-February. The nest is a pre-existing tree hole, often in a yellowwood tree. The female lays 2-5 eggs, which she incubates alone for 28-30 days. The chicks stay in the nest for 55-79 days, being fed seeds by both parents. Even after fledging, the young will remain dependent on their parents for up to 1 year.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
The species as a whole has a very large breeding range, being described as generally scarce but patchily common. While the species is not considered threatened at present, the South African subspecies P. r. robustus is rare with as little as 1000 individuals living the wild. The brown-necked parrot is affected by habitat loss and illegal persecution for trade and export as pets.

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