Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria)
The Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) is a species of parrot belonging to the family Psittacidae. This bird is native to a wide range across South Asia and Southeast Asia, from India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Alexandrine Parakeets inhabit a variety of habitats, including forests, mangroves, woodlands, and cultivated areas, as well as urban parks and gardens.
The Alexandrine Parakeet is a medium-sized parrot, typically measuring between 56 and 62 centimeters (22-24 inches) in length, including its long, tapered tail. The bird displays sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females have distinct physical differences. Males have a bright pink band around their necks, while females have a duller, greyish coloration. Both sexes share a predominantly green plumage, with blue-grey feathers on the head and nape, and red patches on the shoulders and upper wings. Their beaks are robust and reddish-orange, and they have a pale yellow ring around their eyes.
The Alexandrine Parakeet is primarily a herbivore, feeding on a wide variety of plant materials such as fruits, seeds, nuts, flowers, and leaf buds. They have also been known to consume insects and other small invertebrates. These parakeets often forage in flocks, visiting agricultural fields and fruiting trees to find food.
Reproduction and Lifecycle:
Alexandrine Parakeets are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. Their breeding season varies depending on the location, but it generally takes place between November and April. They nest in tree cavities, such as hollow branches or holes made by other birds. The female lays 2 to 4 white eggs, which she incubates for approximately 24 days while the male provides food and protection.
Once the chicks hatch, both parents share the responsibility of feeding and caring for them. The chicks fledge, or leave the nest, at around 7 to 8 weeks of age. Alexandrine Parakeets reach sexual maturity at about 3 to 4 years old and can live up to 25 years in the wild, although they often have longer lifespans in captivity.
The Alexandrine Parakeet is popular in the pet trade due to its beautiful plumage, ability to mimic human speech, and sociable nature. However, the capture and sale of wild Alexandrine Parakeets for the pet trade has contributed to population declines in some parts of their range.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently lists the Alexandrine Parakeet as “Near Threatened.” The species is facing several threats, including habitat loss due to deforestation, hunting for food and the pet trade, and competition with invasive species. Conservation measures, such as habitat protection and the regulation of the pet trade, are crucial for the long-term survival of the Alexandrine Parakeet.