Sunday, 7 October 2012

Brown-headed parrot

Poicephalus cryptoxanthus

Common name:
brown-headed parrot (en); papagaio-de-cabeça-castanha (pt); perroquet à tête brune (fr); lorito de cabeza parda (es)braunkopfpapagei (de)

Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

This species is found in East Africa, from southern Kenya, through Tanzania and Mozambique, and into Zimbabwe and north-eastern South Africa.

These birds are 22 cm long and weigh 120-160 g.

The brown-headed parrot is found in open, dry savannas and forests, riverine woodlands and sometimes also in coconut plantations, agricultural areas and mangroves. They occur from sea level at an altitude of 1.200 m.

They mainly feed on seeds, fruits, berries and flowers, but also young shoots, pods, Aloe nectar and also millet and maize from cultivated areas. They sometimes also eat caterpillars and ants.

Brown-headed parrots breed in April-August. They nest in tree cavities, often in old woodpecker nests, 4-10 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 26-30 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest 50-54 days after hatching. After this they move to a nursery area, usually an area with densely leaved trees with water nearby. They become fully independent about 28 days later.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common. The brown-headed parrot may be declining in some areas, and suffering range contractions, mostly due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for wild bird trade. Still, overall the species is not considered threatened at present.

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