Slaty-headed parakeet

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The slaty-headed parakeet (Psittacula himalayana) belongs to the family of parakeets, Psittaculidae. These parakeet species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and Bhutan. These slaty-headed parakeet species inhabit subtropical coniferous and deciduous woodlands of the Himalayas and surrounding areas. These birds exhibit altitudinal migration.

Slaty-headed parakeet - Overview

  • Scientific name: Psittacula himalayana
  • Species author: (Lesson, 1832)
  • Synonyms: Psittacus (Conurus) Himalayanus Lesson, 1832
  • Family: Psittaculidae › Psittaciformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Common Name: Slaty-headed parakeet
  • Other languages: Chinese: 青头鹦鹉, French: Perruche de l’Himalaya, German: Himalayasittich, Spanish: Cotorra del Himalaya, Russian: Гималайский кольчатый попугай,
  • Other names: Himalayan Parakeet, Intermediate Parakeet
  • Distribution: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan
  • Diet and feeding habits: wild fruits, orchard grown fruits, nuts, buds, seeds, berries, nectar, flowers, shoots and acorns
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The slaty-headed parakeet is closely related to P. finschii (grey-headed parakeet) and P. cyanocephala (plum-headed parakeet).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The slaty-headed parakeet is a medium-sized bird, measuring 38 to 42 cm in length. The plumage is yellowish green. The head is slaty and a black half-collar from chin and throat up sides of neck is present. The males have dark maroon patches on inner wing coverts.

The central tail feathers are longer in males. The base of the tail is green, turning blue in the middle region and the tip is yellow. The iris is black. The upper mandible is rich orange-red with yellowish tip. The lower mandible is yellow. Their call is a squawking sound.
Indian birds - Psittacula himalayana
Birds of India - Slaty-headed parakeet - Psittacula himalayana
Birds of India - Psittacula himalayana
Indian birds - Slaty-headed parakeet - Psittacula himalayana
Indian birds - Slaty-headed parakeet - Psittacula himalayana
Birds of India - Slaty-headed parakeet - Psittacula himalayana

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The slaty-headed parakeet is distributed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan. In India these parakeets occur in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and northern tip of West Bengal.

Ecosystem and habitat

These parakeet species inhabit high altitude ecosystems, subtropical coniferous forests, deciduous woodlands, hillside forests and valley woodlands. They are usually found at elevations of 500 to 2500 meters.

Diet and feeding habits

The diet of these birds consists of wild fruits, orchard fruits, nuts, berries, seeds, nectar, grains and acorns. They move in small flocks or family groups in search of food.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these parakeet species is from March to May in much of their range. They nest in tree hollows and abandoned woodpecker nests. The female lays 4 to 5 eggs and the incubation period is about 24 days.

Movement and migration patterns

These slaty-headed parakeet species are mostly sedentary and are residents in their range. Post breeding dispersal of juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding. In winter, these birds descend into the valleys for most of winter.

Conservation status and concerns

The global population size of the slaty-headed parakeet has not been quantified. The overall population size is considered to be stable. These species have an extremely large range and population. Hence considered not "Vulnerable" to extinction.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these slaty-headed parakeet species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Taxonomy and scientific classification of Psittacula himalayana
Species:P. himalayana
Binomial name:Psittacula himalayana
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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