Long-tailed parakeet

   ›      ›   Long-tailed parakeet - Psittacula longicauda

The long-tailed parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) belongs to the family of parakeets, Psittaculidae.

These parakeet species are distributed in India (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Myanmar (Coco Island), Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. Deforestation and capture for pet trade are the major threats to the survival of the long-tailed parakeets. There are five recognized subspecies of these parakeets.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Long-tailed Parakeet Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The long-tailed parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) is a medium-sized bird, measuring 40 to 50 cm in length and weighing 170 to 200 grams.

The overall long-tailed parakeet plumage is green. The crown is dark green. In males the lores are black and line through the eye. The upper cheek, sides of the face, nape and hind neck are rose.

The chin and lower cheeks are black. The throat and upper back are bluish gray. The lower back is pale blue and rump is pale green. The tail is blue on the upper side with long dark blue central feathers.

The upper mandible in the male parakeet is red and the lower mandible is dark brown. The irises are pale yellow.

In female long-tailed parakeet both the mandibles are dark brown. The upper cheek and ear coverts are dull rose. The chin and lower cheeks are dark green.

The nape and hinder neck, back, rump and tail are green. The central feathers are short. The call of these parakeets is a distinctive screeching "kee..keee" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Long-tailed parakeet - Psittacula longicauda
Birds of India - Image of Long-tailed parakeet - Psittacula longicauda by Lip Kee

Birds of India - Photo of Long-tailed parakeet - Psittacula longicauda
Indian birds - Picture of Long-tailed parakeet - Psittacula longicauda by Lip Kee
Indian birds - Image of Long-tailed parakeet - Psittacula longicauda
Birds of India - Photo of Long-tailed parakeet - Psittacula longicauda by Nathan Rupert

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The long-tailed parakeet species are distributed in India (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Myanmar (Coco Island), Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. The subspecies P. l. modesta is distributed in Enggano Island (Indonesia).

The nominate long-tailed parakeet subspecies P. l. longicauda is distributed in Malaysia (peninsular Malaysia and Borneo), Singapore, Indonesia (Sumatra, Nias Islands, Bangka Island and Borneo) and Brunei.

The subspecies P. l. nicobarica is distributed in Nicobar Islands (India). The long-tailed parakeet subspecies P. l. tytleri is distributed in Andaman Islands (India) and Coco Islands (Myanmar).

The subspecies P. l. defontainei is distributed in Indonesia (Natuna Islands, Riau Archipelago, Belitung Island and Karimata Islands).

Some of the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the long-tailed parakeet species in Malaysia are, Bako-Buntal Bay, Tanjung Datu-Samunsam Protected Area, Hulu Gombak-Sungai Lalang forest, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Kinabatangan floodplain, Similajau National Park and Panti forest.

Ecosystem and habitat

These long-tailed parakeets species have moderate forest dependency. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 300 meters.

They inhabit artificial ecosystems like oil palm plantations, coconut plantations, areca plantations, agricultural fields, gardens and public parks.

The natural ecosystem of these parakeets includes tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, tropical and subtropical mangrove vegetations, lowland evergreen forests and tropical and subtropical swamp forests.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these long-tailed parakeets is mostly fruits. Fruits, berries, figs, nuts, seeds, grains, cereals, buds, flowers and shoots are their primary food. They are frugivorous, living on a wide variety of fruits, berries and figs.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the long-tailed parakeet is from February to April in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The breeding season is from December to May in Malaysia. They are colonial breeders and nest in tree holes.

The typical long-tailed parakeet clutch contains two or three eggs. The chicks hatch out in 24 days. The young ones fledge in seven weeks. Both the parents take care of the nestlings.

Migration and movement patterns

The long-tailed parakeet is a non-migratory, but nomadic bird. Its movements are poorly understood. Sometimes they appear in abundance in some locations. These birds have been observed to form large flocks during breeding season.

Post breeding, the parakeet juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range. These birds fly between islands in response to fruiting of figs and other trees.

Long-tailed parakeet - Overview

  • Scientific name: Psittacula longicauda
  • Species author: (Boddaert, 1783)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Psittacus longicauda Boddaert, 1783
  • Family: Psittaculidae › Psittaciformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Long-tailed parakeet, Chinese: 长尾鹦鹉, French: Perruche à longs brins, German: Langschwanzsittich, Spanish: Cotorra colilarga, Russian: Нитехвостый кольчатый попугай, Japanese: オナガダルマインコ, Malay: Bayan Nuri
  • Other names: Malayan Red-cheeked Parakeet, Pink-cheeked Parakeet, Red-cheeked Parakeet
  • Distribution: Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
  • Diet and feeding habits: wild fruits, orchard fruits, berries, figs, shoots, flowers, buds, seeds, nuts, grains, cereals
  • IUCN status listing: Near Threatened (NT)
The long-tailed parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) is closely related to red-breasted parakeet (Psittacula alexandri).
The five recognized subspecies of long-tailed parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) are: Psittacula longicauda longicauda (Boddaert, 1783), Psittacula longicauda defontainei Chasen, 1935, Psittacula longicauda modesta (Fraser, 1845), Psittacula longicauda nicobarica (Gould, 1857) and Psittacula longicauda tytleri (A. O. Hume, 1874).

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the long-tailed parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these species is considered to be under decline.

Throughout its range it is reported to be very common and widespread. The generation length is 7.5 years. Their distribution size is about 4,300,000 sq.km.

The long-tailed parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) is approaching the thresholds for being Vulnerable, under the range size criterion, under the population trend criterion and also under the population size criterion.

Deforestation, forest fragmentation and capture for pet trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these parakeet species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the parakeet species and has listed it as "Near Threatened".

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Evaluated’ for the long-tailed parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) and listed in Appendix II.
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Psittacula longicauda
Species:P. longicauda
Binomial name:Psittacula longicauda
IUCN status listing:
Near Threatened
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1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Psittacula_longicauda_(feeding)_-Queenstown_-Singapore-6.jpg
Image author: Lip Kee | License: CC BY-SA 2.0
2.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lipkee/451814778/
Image author: Lip Kee | License: CC BY-SA 2.0
3.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathaninsandiego/5662795489/
Image author: Nathan Rupert | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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