Sunday, October 14, 2012

Turquoise Parrot Neophema pulchella

The Turquoise Parrot is a bird species you rarely see in Tenterfield but yesterday I was out the front of my neighbour's house and a Turquoise Parrot family landed in the tree. Actually at first I didn't know they were Turquoise Parrots. They were well camouflaged in the tree. I also thought there were two separate species that flew into the tree. There was already a Australian Magpie in that same tree. I had to research which parrot species I video recorded and it was hard to identify the species using the poor quality videos I took, but finally concluded they were Turquoise Parrots, as this species is supposedly sighted in the area. I identified the species by not only the colouring of the birds but also noticed the male had a small narrow band of reddish/brown coloured feathers on his wings, which I glimpsed sight of in the very last video I took.

This family group may be a new colour variation as they all appeared to have a very light coloured underside, from their rectum to the tips of their tails. Either that or the two parent birds were very, very young and still developing their full colouring.

Below are a few screenshots from 3 of the 4 videos I took of this Turquoise Parrot family. There were only 3 birds to the family group: a mum; a dad; and a junenile of what gender I do not know. Click each image to enlarge it.

I first saw and heard what later turned out to be the juvenile, which is mostly what I got video recordings of. I don't know how old the juvenile is but it looks fairly young and does not appear to have developed a yellow belly yet. Moments later I heard more rustling in the tree; movement near the juvenile, and movement higher up almost directly above these first two birds.

When looking into the tree with the naked eye the juvenile looks just like a grey bird. The other two birds were more noticably greener with a yellow belly - when I could actually see them. The two adult birds blended very well into the tree's foliage making it very difficult to see them. In fact the only time I could see them was when they moved and I saw a flash of yellow and green. That's all I saw of the adults. I have left the videos below unedited because the juvenile appeared to be the only bird making any kind of sound. I didn't want to change anything in case I accidentally removed some of the sounds the juvenile was making.

One of the adult birds.

Mostly of the juvenile. I don't know what is wrong with this video but it keeps freezing.

The one thing I do know about this species is if they come in close proximity to humans they hide in the foliage, keep perfectly still, and do not make a sound. These birds blend so well into their surroundings that it is actually impossible to spot them in a tree with the naked eye. If this bird species is spotted  it is probably better to start video recording them rather than try and take photos of them. To find them anywhere in the wild is based purely on knowledge of their idea of food, and as they migrate to locate food, it is even harder to locate them in the wild. My best advice is if you know they are in the area at a certain time of the year, look in the trees that they'd most likely be in, and see if you can listen for any movement in the branches. If you see a flash of bright yellow and green, it is bound to be this species. They also have been spotted feeding in bird feeders much earlier in the year, usually moving on within minutes of landing at a bird feeder.

Yesterday, these birds were also seen in a Wattle tree as well as hiding in a Pine tree. I could not tell if they were actually feeding on the premature wattle seeds or not but they hung around the wattle tree for a while before they moved on.


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