Ian’s Bird of the Week – Double-eyed Fig-Parrot

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana) by Ian

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana) by Ian

I wonder why miniature things are so endearing. Describing something as ‘the smallest’ immediately attracts attention, so here is the smallest parrot in Australia – with one of the longest and strangest names – the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot. Strictly speaking the Cape York race of this species (marshalli) is the smallest with a length of 13cm/5in – shorter than a house sparrow. More accessible and nearly as small (14cm) is the race found in northeastern Queensland (macleayana), quite common around Cairns and on the Atherton Tableland, where the first photo was taken.

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana) by Ian

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana) by Ian

The races and genders are distinguishable by different facial patterns. This is a male macleayana and has a red forehead and cheek separated by a sky-blue patch and an indigo fringe to the red cheek patch. The second photo is also a male macleayana but nearly hidden in the foliage; this is typical and these birds can be hard to see as they creep around mouse-like through fruiting trees in rainforest.

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana) by Ian

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana) by Ian

The female and juvenile macleayana are similar to the male but lacks the red cheek patch, as in the two birds in the third photo.

The fourth photo shows a female of the Cape York race, marshalli, with no red at all. I lack a photo of the male marshalli but it is rather similar to the male macleayana except that the red forehead and cheek patches are contiguous.

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma marshalli) by Ian

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma marshalli) by Ian

The third and remaining Australian race, coxeni, is the largest (16cm) and rarest – classified as endangered – and occurs in a few river valleys between Maryborough in southeast Queensland and the Macleay River in northern New South Wales. Both sexes apparently have mainly blue foreheads and small reddish cheek patches.

These three races were originally treated as separate species and known as Macleay’s or Red-browed, Coxen’s or Blue-browed and Marshall’s Fig-Parrots. Later they and five races in Papua New Guinea were lumped into a single species and acquired the common name of the nominate Double-eyed Fig-Parrot of PNG (Cyclopsitta diophthalma diophthalma). This has a dark spot near each eye, giving it its double-eyed appearance, but the name is not descriptive of the races that lack the dark spot, i.e. the three Australian races. Oh well, they got the fig bit right.

Best wishes
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:
Those cute little Fig Parrots are in the Parrots – Psittacidae Family of the Psittaciformes Order which not only includes Parrot family, but also the New Zealand Parrots and Cockatoos.

He will bless those who fear the LORD, Both small and great. (Psalms 115:13 NKJV)

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Formed By Him – Birds of Peru and Chile – II

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Reinier Munguia

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Reinier Munguia

This is a continuation of Formed By Him – Birds of Peru and Chile – I

Since there are so many birds that could be seen by our team in Peru and Chile, I have saved two large families for Part II. The Psittacidae Family which has the Parrots, Macaws, Parakeets, Parrotlets and the Amazons. There are 53 species in Peru and 5 in Chile.

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Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)©WikiC

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)©WikiC

We did an article about the Sword-billed Hummingbird and maybe they will get to see one of them.

The Trochillidae Family which has the Hummingbirds, Sicklebills, Hermits, Lancebills, Sabrewings, Jacobin, Violetears, Mangos, Topaz, Coquettes, Thorntails, Sapphires, Woodnymphs, Goldenthroat, Emerald, Plumeleteer, Piedtails, Brilliants, Coronet, Sunbeams, Velvetbreast, Inca, Starfrontlets, Sapphirewing, Sunangel, Pufflegs, Whitetip, Racket-tail, Comets, Mountaineer, Metaltail, Thornbills, Avocetbill, Fairy, Spatuletail, Sheartail and Woodstar. All of these are in the Hummingbird family. There are 123 species in Peru and 9 in Chile.

The two country’s birds are combined in the slideshow.

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These two countries abound in the Creative Hand of the Lord, especially when the birds of the air are observed.

They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands. (Isaiah 5:12 ESV)
that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:20 ESV)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Eastern Rosella ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 05-04-11

In the search for the rare, elusive and/or beautiful it is easy to take the common, familiar and beautiful for granted. This is especially true when something has been used as an advertising icon and an egregious example of this is the Eastern Rosella, used as an icon in Australia for Rosella tomato sauce, soup and chutney, first image. No doubt the brilliant red head and breast of the Eastern Rosella played a part in its selection, but the Rosella company is a bit coy on the subject and mentions that Rose and Ella were the daughters of the original owners when in 1895 they bought the trademark from the makers of a eucalyptus oil cure for rheumatism.

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

When we set up camp in Barradine, New South Wales, for Easter, a pair of Eastern Rosellas were feeding on grass seed close to our camp-site and using the fence of the old Barradine race track
to reach the seed heads. The first photo shows the splendid male on the fence wire and the second photo shows the same bird on the grass. Rosellas are a bit shy usually keep their distance unless they have become used to people and I’ve had difficulty in photographing them, but this pair was fairly obliging.

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

The specific name eximius is Latin for ‘extraordinary, excellent, fine, superb’ so George Shaw, not George Bernard but keeper of the British Museum, was clearly impressed when he named it carefully in 1792. It takes Mother Nature to combine vivid primary colours without appearing garish, and I particularly like the luscious apple green of the rump, seen better in the second photo, an excellent field mark when you spot the birds flying away, as is often the case. The females are beautiful too, though not quite as bright as the males and the third photo shows the female of the pair walking along the top of the fence and the red colour of the head suffused with greenish-brown.

The Eastern Rosella is common within its relatively limited range comprising Victoria, Tasmania (where it is uncommon) most of New South Wales except the arid north-west, and extending into southeastern South Australia and southeastern Queensland. In the rest of coastal and central Queensland it is replaced by the closely related Pale-headed Rosella and the Northern Rosella, also a close relative, occurs in the Top End of the Northern Territory and northeastern Western Australia.

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) by Ian

Rosella taxonomy is confused and there is uncertainty whether these three, or at least the two eastern one, should be treated as a single species as there is some cross-breeding between Eastern and Pale-headed where their ranges overlap in northern New South Wales and southeastern Queensland. At present they are retained as three species but are sometimes collectively called the white-cheeked Rosellas as distinct from the blue-cheeked Rosellas comprising the Crimson, Yellow and Adelaide Rosellas which are now generally regarded as a single species.

Links:
Pale-headed Rosella
Northern Rosella
Crimson Rosella
Yellow Rosella

Best wishes,
Ian


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Wow! What a gorgeous bird of the Parrot – Psittacidae Family. Ian always seem to be in the right place at the right time to get many of his fantastic photos.

This bird reminds me of the coat that was made for Joseph, a coat of many colors. I wonder if the maker of the coat had looked at a Rosella or some other of creations very colorful birds to decide which colors to use.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. (Genesis 37:3 KJV)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Turquoise Parrot

Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) by Ian

Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Turquoise Parrot ~ by Ian Montgomery

Maybe I was tempting fate when last week I publicly declared my target species of the Pilliga trip to be the Turquoise Parrot, but fate was kind to me when I did the same thing with the Resplendent Quetzal on the eve of my visit to Costa Rica last year.

In truth I felt I needed a bit of help as I’ve been wanting to get reasonable photographs of these gorgeous birds since taking a very poor one of a female in the Warrumbungles in New South Wales in pre-digital days almost exactly eleven years ago. To that end I’d visited both the Warrumbungles and the Capertee Valley west of Sydney several times over the years, detoured via Warwick in Southern Queensland and camped the night in Chiltern in Northern Victoria, all places where this species has been reported.
Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) by Ian

Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) by Ian

We went to the Warrumbungles last Wednesday and we were just about to leave the second site – the Woolshed – recommended by a helpful but not optimistic ranger (‘they haven’t been seen for a month or two’) when Ivor, one of my two sharp-eyed companions, spotted a female on exactly the same powerlines as eleven years ago, but this time she flew off towards the creek without waiting to have her photo taken. A careful search of the creek revealed nothing even vaguely turquoise but eventually we found about 20 birds feeding on the grassy track on the far side.

I spent about 20 minutes sidling up to these birds as gradually as possible. The first two photos are of adult male birds, distinguishable by the reddish shouldered patches, which flew up into a shrub as I approached. The second male seems to be eyeing me quizzically as if wondering what I’m up to. The third photo is of a female feeding on the path.
Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) by Ian

Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) by Ian

Misión completa, as they said in Costa Rica, and thank you, fate.
Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

What a gorgeous parrot. Wow!

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7 KJV)

I know last week when Ian said he was off on an adventure to find that Turquoise Parrot, I prayed and asked that he find one. I was being a little selfish because I had never seen one and was trusting that his group would spot one. Whichever, fate or prayer, it is a choice we all make. I prefer the later.

The parrots are in the Psittacidae – Parrots Family of the Psittaciformes Order.

See all of Ian’s Bird of the Week articles.

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