[P. alexandri: Moustached parakeet]
[P. calthorpae: Emerald-collared parakeet]
[P. caniceps: Blyth's parakeet]
[P. cyanocephala: Plumheaded parakeet]
[P. derbyana: Derbyan parakeet]
[P. echo: Mauritius parakeet]
[P. eupatria: Alexandrine parakeet]
[P. exsul: Newton's parakeet]
[P. himalayana: Slatyheaded parakeet]
[P. intermedia: Intermediar parakeet]
[P. krameri: Ringnecked parakeet]
[P. longicauda: Long-tailed parakeet]
 [P. roseata: Blossomheaded parakeet][P. wardi: Seychelles parakeet] 

Psittacula columboides [Vigors 1830]

Malabar Parakeet

Psittacula columboides (Vigors 1830)

Description: General plumage green; lower abdomen and under tail-coverts yellowish-green with slight bluish tinge; head, breast, neck and back grey with variable slight pink tinge; lores and eye area darker green and sides of forehead greenish-blue; narrow black band with turquoise border below across chin, sides of head and back; lower back bluish-green; wing-coverts dark green with narrow pale green edging; primaries blue; middle tail-feathers blue with yellow tips, outer feathers green with yellow tips; upper mandible red with yellowish tip, lower mandible brown; iris yellow to orange; feet grey.

Hen as cock, but breast and back green; turquoise area below black band absent; lores and eye area only with faint greenish tinge; upper and lower mandible blackish.

Immatures as hen, but head greyish-green; black band only faintly marked in many birds; bill pale orange-red, becoming black at 6 weeks; in cocks bill becomes red again after 9 months.

Length: 38 cm, wing length 135 - 160 mm, tail length 171 - 266 mm.

Distribution: Southwest India, North of Bombay South to Kerala.


Psittacula columboides Cock
Photo: Z. Rana
Psittacula columboides 


Habitat: Evergreen forest and humid montane forest between 450 m and 1,600 m; occasionally also in humid lowland forest; visits coffee, tea, rubber and fruit plantations; forages in cultivated areas.

Status: Fairly common; population decline through habitat loss.

Behaviour: Usually in small groups of 4 to 5 birds; occasionally also in small flocks; noisy; mostly noticed because of calling; almost always found in tops of tall trees; there difficult to detect; only comes down to ground in grain fields; flight swift and straight; harsh, raucous call differs considerably from that of Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala), which is also found in some localities.

Call: Harsh, raucous call differs considerably from that of Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala)

Natural diet: Seeds, fruits (figs), small nuts, berries, leaf buds, flowers, pollen and nectar; regularly visits Erythrina and Grevillea for pollen and nectar.

Nesting: Breeding season from January to March; prefers to nest in tall ironwood trees (Mesua ferrea); uses old woodpecker and barbet nestholes, which are sometimes enlarged; nest lined with wood dust and small pieces of wood; clutch 3 to 4 eggs; egg measures 28.3 x 24.5 mm.

Aviculture: Medium-noisy parakeet only occasionally noisy; initially shy; becomes confiding slowly; newly imported bird very susceptible; must be acclimatised carefully; only active in spacious aviary; communal aviary with other Psittacula species only possible outside breeding season; bathes little; but enjoys light rain in outside flight; likes nibbling fresh branches; occasionally aggressive to partner; sensitive to cold, wet conditions.

Accommodation: Outside flight 3 x 1 x 2 m with adjoining inside aviary; can be planted; minimum temperature 10°C, not less than 24°C during acclimatisation; provide roosting box (22 x 22 x 60 cm).

Diet: Seed mix of safflower, wild bird food, buckwheat, some sunflower, various millets, canary grass seed, oats and hemp; millet spray, also sprouted; plenty of fruit (mango, apple, pear, figs, grapefruit); greenfood and vegetables (carrot, capsicum, cucumber); eggfood and biscuit for rearing.

Clutch: 3 - 4 eggs.

Incubation: 23 days.

Breeding: Seldom achieved; clutch 3 to 4 eggs; incubation 23 days; fledging period 6 weeks; young independent after 21 days; cock occasionally aggressive towards hen; sometimes sensitive to nestbox inspection.

Mutations: There are rumors about a Lutino mutation in the Wild.



Psittacula columboides Hen
Photo: Z. Rana

Psittacula columboides Cock and Hen
Photo: Z. Rana

Psittacula columboides Cock
Photo: Z. Rana
[P. alexandri: Moustached parakeet]
[P. calthorpae: Emerald-collared parakeet]
[P. caniceps: Blyth's parakeet]
[P. cyanocephala: Plumheaded parakeet]
[P. derbyana: Derbyan parakeet]
[P. echo: Mauritius parakeet]
[P. eupatria: Alexandrine parakeet]
[P. exsul: Newton's parakeet]
[P. himalayana: Slatyheaded parakeet]
[P. intermedia: Intermediar parakeet]
[P. krameri: Ringnecked parakeet]
[P. longicauda: Long-tailed parakeet]
 [P. roseata: Blossomheaded parakeet][P. wardi: Seychelles parakeet] 

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