Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-capped Parrot ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter ~ 3/15/14
I’ve had a request for a Western Australian endemic from an American friend who is visiting WA this coming September. So here, Laurie, is the Red-capped Parrot which you should see there. The first photo shows a male of this fairly large (length to 38cm/15in), brightly coloured – some would say gaudy – parrot, which is reasonably common in suitable habitat in a relatively small area of southwestern Australia, mainly south of Perth, west of Esperance and within 100km of the coast.
The second photo shows a female, similar to but more subdued in colour than the male, with greenish patches in the red cap and under-tail coverts and less intense violet breast.
The female is perched in a Marri tree, a Western Australian bloodwood, Corymbia, formerly Eucapyptus, calphylla. This is the main food plant of the parrot and their ranges mostly coincide. Marri has tough woody globular nuts and the long pointed bill of the Red-capped Parrot is adapted to exploiting the one weakness in the nut defences – the valve through which the seed is shed. The parrots can prise out the seed without having to gnaw through the woody wall.
It’s clearly a fine source of bird food, as another Western Australian endemic Baudin’s or the Long-billed Cockatoo has evolved along identical lines for the same reason -an elegant example of parallel evolution. The male cockatoo in the third photo is showing us exactly how it’s done: piece of cake really, given the right equipment. Not surprisingly the range of this cockatoo is similar to that of the parrot.
Actually, this bird featured as bird of the week in November 2006, but this is, if a repeat, at least a different photo. The first and third photos were taken on the same day. Kalgan is east of Albany on the way to the famous-for-birding Two Peoples Bay and Dunsborough is west of Bussleton near Cape Leeuwin. Cape Leeuwin has this splendid lighthouse built in 1895 and marks the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.
I did take this one photo of the lighthouse on the same day, but my clearest memory is of a Rock Parrot feeding on the ground near it, but that bird featured as bird of the week in October 2006: http://www.birdway.com.au/psittacidae/rock_parrot/index.htm: a good day for unusual parrots.
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au
And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22 NKJV)
What a beautifully created Parrot. As you may know, Ian allows me to reproduce his newsletter. I use these to introduce us to the fantastic birds around the world. He has great photos on his site.
(This blog is birdwatching from a Christian perspective and therefore I do not believe in evolution, but realize birds have reproduced, producing different variations withing the families and orders. They are all still birds though.)
Psittacidae – Parrots Family
Cacatuidae – Cockatoos Family