Thursday, February 6, 2014

Blue-headed Parrot

Blue-headed Parrots are perhaps the most common parrot across northern South America. The species is spreading north into southern Central America (Birds of the World—Alive). It tolerates disturbed habitat and makes destructive forays into croplands. Despite its numbers, Blue-headed Parrots are not often taken in the wildbird trade.

This bird, nevertheless, was a pet of the Jivaro (Shuar) people who lived near the missionary outpost where we encamped for 14 months as we researched our dissertations. The Jivaro enjoyed a strange relationship with their wildlife. The people enjoyed keeping pets, but they were often cruel to them. Not unlike ourselves, come to think of it. 

In my ornithology lectures, I always used Blue-headed Parrots as evidence that scientists are not without humor. In 1766, Linnaeus named this species Psittacus menstruus. A look at the undertail feathers will explain why.  (Later studies changed Psittacus to Pionus.) Another common name is Red-vented Parrot. 

1 comment:

  1. An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.