Grey-headed parakeet

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The grey-headed parakeet (Psittacula finschii), also known as Finsch’s Parakeet, belongs to the family, Psittaculidae. These parakeet species are distributed in eastern India, Bhutan, south-western China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The grey-headed parakeet inhabits montane forest, open mixed deciduous forest, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and farmlands and cultivated areas with several trees.

Grey-headed parakeet - Overview

  • Scientific name: Psittacula finschii
  • Species author: (Hume, 1874)
  • Synonyms: Palæornis Finschii A. O. Hume, 1874
  • Family: Psittaculidae › Psittaciformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Common Name: Grey-headed parakeet
  • Other languages: Chinese: 灰头鹦鹉, French: Perruche de Finsch, German: Finschsittich, Spanish: Cotorra de Finsch, Russian: Кольчатый попугай Финша, Japanese: ハイガシラホンセイインコ, Malay: Burung Bayan Kepala Kelabu
  • Other names: Finsch’s Parakeet, Gray-headed Parakeet
  • Distribution: India, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan
  • Diet and feeding habits: seeds, grain, buds, shoots, berries, leaf buds, fruit, flowers, leaves
  • IUCN status listing: Near Threatened (NT)
Grey-headed parakeet was previously considered conspecific with P. himalayana. It is closely related to P. himalayana. Psittacula finschii is monotypic species.

Appearance, physical description and identification

The grey-headed parakeet (Psittacula finschii) is a medium-sized bird measuring 35 to 40 cm in length. It is very similar to P. himalayana. However it is smaller in size, the tail feathers are longer, the head is paler and the upperparts are more yellow. The nape is pale blue-green.
Indian birds - Image of Grey-headed parakeet - Psittacula finschii
Birds of India - Image of Grey-headed parakeet - Psittacula finschii
Indian birds - Grey-headed parakeet - Psittacula finschii
Birds of India - Grey-headed parakeet - Psittacula finschii

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The grey-headed parakeet species are distributed in eastern India, Bhutan, south-western China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Bangladesh. They are very rare in Bangladesh. In India, the grey-headed parakeets occur in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. In China, they occur in Yunnan province.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of grey-headed parakeet in Cambodia are Keo Sema and Mondulkiri - Kratie Lowlands. The IBAs in Laos are Nakai-Nam Theun, Nakai Plateau, Eastern Bolikhamxay Mountains, Upper Xe Bangfai, Xe Khampho / Xe Pian, Phou Xiang Thong, Attapu Plain and Hin Namno.

Ecosystem and habitat

The parakeet species inhabit evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, oak, teak, cedar and pine forests, wooded hillsides, deciduous hill forests, partly cultivated farmlands and plantations. It occurs in elevations of up to 2,700 meters in montane forests.

Diet and feeding habits

The diet of the grey-headed parakeet consists mainly of nuts, seeds, grains, grass, shoots, buds, flowers, berries, fruits and legumes.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these grey-headed parakeet species is from January to March in Myanmar. They nest in tree hollows. The clutch usually contains 4-5 eggs.

Migration and movement patterns

These parakeet species are altitudinal migrant birds. Post breeding dispersal of juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding. These grey-headed parakeet species have been found to descent to lower altitudes from the upland forests during winter.

Conservation status and concerns

The global population size of the grey-headed parakeet (Psittacula finschii) has not been quantified. The overall population size is considered to be on a sharp decline. Their generation length is 7.5 years. These species have large range and population. The grey-headed parakeet is being widely captured for pet trade. In China and Cambodia, the trapping pressure is contributing to the decline in the population.

The habitat loss due to deforestation and logging is threatening the survival of these species. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the grey-headed parakeet (Psittacula finschii) and has listed it as "Near Threatened". The CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has listed these parakeets in Appendix II.

Taxonomy and scientific classification of Psittacula finschii
Species:P. finschii
Binomial name:Psittacula finschii
IUCN status listing:
Near Threatened
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1.Image source:
Image author: Dr. Raju Kasambe | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Image source:
Image author: vil.sandi | License: CC BY-ND 2.0 (as on 2016-11-28)
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