[P. roseata: Blossomheaded parakeet] [P. wardi: Seychelles parakeet]  

Psittacula alexandri [Linné 1758]

Moustached Parakeet

1. Psittacula alexandri alexandri (Linné 1758)

Java Moustached Parakeet

Description: Upperparts green; median wing-coverts green-yellow; head grey with marked bluish tinge; around the eye's washed with green; hindneck emerald green; chin, cheek-stripe and narrow line over forehead to eye black; throat, breast and upper abdomen salmonpink; lower abdomen and under tail-coverts green with variable blue tinge; under wing-coverts pale green; upperside of middle tail-feathers blue with greenyellow tips, outer tail-feathers bluegreen; tail underside dirty oliveyellowish; upper and lower mandible coral red with pale tip; iris pale yellow; feet grey.

Hen as cock with red upper and lower mandible, but salmon-pink breast duller; middle tail-feathers on average shorter; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck.

Immatures green with whitish forehead and incomplete black cheek-stripe; median wing-coverts with yellow-green tinge; tail noticeably shorter; bill pale red in very young birds.

Length: 33 cm, wing length 145 - 166 mm, tail length 129 - 191 mm.

Distribution: Java and Bali, Indonesia; also occurs in Southern Borneo where it was probably intoduced from Java.

2. Psittacula alexandri fasciata (P.L.S. Müller 1776)

Indian Moustached Parakeet

Description: As alexandri, but breast and upper abdomen darker pink and lightly lilac-blue tinged; head uniformly greyblue; eye and forehead areas with greenish tinge; lower abdomen green lightly tinged blue; upper mandible red, lower mandible black.

Hen as cock, but breast and upper abdomen darker pink without lilac-blue tinge; ; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck; upper and lower mandible black.

Immatures with green-grey head and black forehead and cheek markings; but without pink breast; bill pink until the first few months after leaving nest, then becomes dark brown to black; final colour attained around 14 months.

Length: 33 cm, wing length 153 - 171 mm, tail length 140 - 192 mm.

Distribution: Northern India from Dehra Dun area eastwards over Nepal to Assam, East Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Burma, Thailand, Indochina and Southern China in the provinces of Yunnan and Kwangsi; also Hainan Island and Mergui Archipelago.

3. Psittacula alexandri major (Richmond 1902)

Babi Moustached Parakeet

Description: As fasciata, but plumage slightly paler; grey head without bluish tinge; forehead and eye areas without green tinge; breast and upper abdomen darker pink; less salmon-colour and without lilac-blue tinge; bill colouration as in fasciata; noticeably larger.

Hen as cock but upper and lower mandible black; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck.

Length: 38 cm, wing length 187 - 203 mm, tail length 178 - 229 mm.

Distribution: Babi and Lasia Islands, Indonesia.

4. Psittacula alexandri cala (Oberholser 1912)

Simeulean Moustached Parakeet

Description: As fasciata, but plumage slightly paler; forehead and eye areas without green tinge; breast and upper abdomen darker pink, less salmon-colour and without lilacblue tinge; lower abdomen strongly washed pale blue; bill colouration as in fasciata; slightly larger.

Hen as cock, but upper and lower mandible black; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck.

Length: 36 cm, wing length 168 - 185 mm, tail length 159 - 197 mm.

Distribution: Simeulue Island, Indonesia.

5. Psittacula alexandri perionca (Oberholser 1912)

Nias Moustached Parakeet

Description: As fasciata, but plumage slightly paler; grey head without bluish tinge; forehead and eye areas without green tinge; breast and upper abdomen darker pink, less salmon-coloured and without lilacblue tinge; lower abdomen paler and more yellowishgreen; bill colouration as in fasciata; larger.

Hen as cock, but upper and lower mandible black; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck.

Length: 37 cm, wing length 171 - 194 mm, tail length 159 - 227 mm.

Distribution: Nias Island, Indonesia.

6. Psittacula alexandri abotti (Oberholser 1919)

Andaman Moustached Parakeet

Description: As fasciata, but plumage generally much paler; grey head with only light lilacblue tinge; breast and upper abdomen pale salmonpink washed lightly with lilacblue; bill colouration as in fasciata; larger.

Hen as cock, but breast and abdomen without lilac-blue tinge; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck; upper and lower mandible black.

Length: 36 cm, wing length 163 - 181 mm, tail length 160 - 206 mm.

Distribution: Andaman Islands

7. Psittacula alexandri dammermani (Chasen und Kloss 1932)

Dammerman's Moustached Parakeet

Description: As alexandri, but larger and with heavier bill; salmon-pink breast and abdomen feathers slightly darker in some birds; upper and lower mandible red.

Hen as cock, but breast and abdomen duller; upper and lower mandible pale red; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck.

Length: 36 cm, wing length 172 - 180 mm, tail length 161 - 218 mm

Distribution: Karimundjawa Island, Indonesia.

8. Psittacula alexandri kangeanensis (Hoogerwerf 1962)

Kangean Moustached Parakeet

Description: As alexandri, but with only faint blue tinge to head; median wing-coverts brighter and more extensive yellowish; bill heavier; upper and lower mandible red; bill slightly heavier than in dammermani.

Hen as cock, but breast slightly paler; upper and lower mandible red; hen shows a salmon-pink line in the neck.

Length: 33 cm, wing length 158 - 161 mm, tail length 153 - 180 mm.

Distribution: Kangean Island, Indonesia.


1.Psittacula a. alexandri Cock
Photo: Z. Rana

2.Psittacula a. fasciata Hen and Cock
Photo: Z. Rana

3.Psittacula a. major Cock
Photo: San Diego Zoo

4.Psittacula a. cala Cock
Photo: Z. Rana

5.Psittacula a. perionca Cock
Photo: Z. Rana

6.Psittacula a. abotti Cock
Photo: T. Brosset

7.Psittacula a. dammermani Cock
Photo: Z. Rana

8.Psittacula a. kangeanensis Cock
Photo: Z. Rana
Psittacula a. alexandri
Psittacula a. fasciata
Psittacula a. major
Psittacula a. cala
Psittacula a. perionca
Psittacula a. abotti
Psittacula a. dammermani
Psittacula a. kangeanensis
   


Habitat:
All types of open woodland in lowland areas and in foothills to 2,000 m; occurs regularly in localities in mangroves, coconut palm groves, cultivated areas, parks, gardens and urban areas.

Status: Common to very common, populations reduced in localities by trapping for trade.

Behaviour: Nomadic in groups of 10 to 50 birds; mostly seen flying low over open country; then rising and settling in tall trees; noisy, also when perching in trees; only quiet when feeding; remains in one area; local migration determined by availability of food; occasionally flocks of more than 10,000 during rice harvest season, when paddy fields are foraged; gathers in larger flocks for roosting on tall trees, copses or bamboo thickets; occasionally forms mixed flocks with Slaty-Headed Parakeets (Psittacula himalayana); flight slower than other Psittacula species.

Call: Call raucous, trumpet-like scream or shrill whistling.

Natural diet: Seeds, fruits, berries, small nuts, chestnuts, buds, flowers and nectar (especially Parkia speciosa and Erythrina variegata flowers); often causes considerable damage to rice fields.

Nesting: Breeding season in India, Burma, and Andaman Islands from December to April, in Java all year except April; breeding season varies depending on altitude and climatic conditions; nests in hollow branches or dead trees; old woodpecker and barbet nest holes are also regularly used and enlarged; lined with decaying wood; clutch 3 to 4 eggs; egg measures 29.5 x 24.2 mm.

Aviculture: Medium-noisy to noisy parrot; young birds susceptible during acclimatisation, as mostly trapped too young;hardy and not susceptible once acclimatised; hard chewers; provide regular supply of fresh branches; not shy; enjoys bathing or being sprayed; colony system only recommended with spacious aviary.

Accommodation: Outside flight of at least 2.5 x 1 x 2 m with adjoining inside section; minimum temperature during acclimatisation 20°C, otherwise not less than 5°C; at least 1 sq. m floor space per pair in communal aviary; metal construction as wood quickly destroyed.

Diet: Seed mix of paddy rice, safflower, buckwheat, various millets, canary grass seed, oats, wheat and hemp; millet spray ( also sprouted); sunflower in small quantities and sprouted; cooked edible chestnuts; plenty of fruit (apple, banana, rowan and elderberry), greenfood (dandelion, flowers, chickweed) and vegetables (rose hips, half-ripened maize, carrot, sweet peppers, cucumber): eggfood, softened white bread and biscuit for rearing.

Clutch: 3 - 5 eggs.

Incubation: 23 days.

Breeding: Not difficult to breed with but there is not much interest in these birds; isolate pairs; breeding begins in February; average clutch 3 to 5 eggs; incubation 23 days; fledging period 7 weeks; young independent after 14 days; nestbox 25 x 25 x 40 cm; line bottom with decayed wood. Breeding is even achieved in breeding boxes with sizes like 60 x 100 x 50 cm.

Mutations: Several mutations have been established; Blue, Turquoise, Fallow.



Psittacula a. dammermani Cock
Photo: Z. Rana

Psittacula a. fasciata Hen and Cock
Photo: Z. Rana

Psittacula a. alexandri Cock and Hen
Photo: Z. Rana
[P. roseata: Blossomheaded parakeet] [P. wardi: Seychelles parakeet]

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