Blue-bellied parrot (Triclaria malachitacea)
|Also known as:||purple-bellied parrot|
|Size||Length: 28 cm (2)|
|Weight||110 – 115 g (2)|
Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
This relatively long-tailed parrot has an almost entirely green plumage, except for a conspicuous deep blue patch on the belly of the male, for which the species is named, and bluish-green flight and tail feathers (2) (4). The bill, by contrast, is whitish (2). This bird has a whistled call and pairs will sing in duet, but it is typically a fairly quiet species (4).
Recorded in southeast Brazil from Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul, although two unconfirmed reports from Misiones, Argentina, also exist and require confirmation (2) (5).
Found in lower montane and escarpment humid broadleaf Atlantic forest, from 300 to 1,000 metres above sea level, ranging into lowland forests outside the breeding season (2) (5). The species is usually found in the canopy of tall forest along watercourses in valleys, but plantations, orchards and suburban woodlands are sometimes frequented and, in Rio do Sul, it nests on flat, ridgeline terrain (2) (5).
Blue-bellied parrots can be found in small groups or pairs (6). Pairs become strongly territorial during the breeding season from August to February and neighbouring pairs’ nests may be as much as two kilometres apart. Nests are constructed in the natural hollows of old large trees, often in a palm trunk relatively low to the ground (2). In captivity, clutches of two to four eggs are usual, which are incubated for 28 days (2), and the nestling period apparently lasts five to seven weeks (6).
The blue-bellied parrot has a varied diet that includes the seeds, fruits, flowers, nectar and buds of many native plants, as well as occasionally taking cultivated maize and perhaps insects. Captive birds have also been observed feeding on bark, leaves and algae growing on wood (2).
Sadly, much of Brazil’s original Atlantic forest has been destroyed in favour of cultivated crops such as tobacco and bananas, and due to urbanisation and intensive palmito collecting (5) (6). In Rio Grande do Sul, trees are cut for fuelwood to cure tobacco, further fragmenting habitat (5). During the mid 1980s, small numbers of blue-bellied parrots were found in international trade, particularly the Netherlands, but the cage-bird trade is not currently considered a significant threat, with only occasional internal trade (5) (6).
The blue-bellied parrot is listed on CITES Appendix II and protected under Brazilian law. Populations occur in 14 protected areas in Brazil and, in Rio Grande do Sul, clearance of native forest is banned, fuelwood extraction requires a licence and suitable areas for incorporation into a reserve network have been identified. Some public education campaigns have also been undertaken to help raise awareness of the plight of the blue-bellied parrot and its rapidly dwindling forest habitat (5).
For more information on the blue-bellied parrot see:
Authenticated (25/02/08) by Professor Luís Fábio Silveira, Department of Zoology, University of São Paulo.
- Palmito: Also known as ‘palmetto’, a name given to several small, mostly tropical palms having fan-shaped leaves, used in weaving.
IUCN Red List (September, 2007)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World – Sandgrouse To Cuckoos. Vol. 4. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
CITES (January, 2007)
- Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. Pica Press, Sussex.
BirdLife International (February, 2007)
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Papageien- Netzwerk (February, 2007)