Dracula parrot aka Pesquet’s parrot or vulture parrot is a unique-looking parrot species with super cool plumage color and face. I was very curious about them when I first saw their photos on the Internet. So I did my research, and I have several fascinating things about Dracula parrot to show you today. Let’s see what we have about the most gothic bird on Earth here.
Looking very intimidating, the Dracula parrot is a large parrot that grows up to 48 centimeters in length. The plumage of the bird is black with grayish scaling on its chest on top of a bright red belly. Its uppertail coverts and wing panels are also red, and an adult male has a red spot behind his eye. We can all agree that that red belly gives them that fierce look, a black and red bird is just so cool.
As for the face, it has bare black facial skin along with a relatively long hooked bill. This face gives a vulture-like look which is how it got its other nickname, the vulturine parrot/vulture parrot. Presumably, the bare part of the head is an adaptation to avoid feather-matting from the sticky fruits that they feed on.
When it comes to behaviors, they are not different from other parrot species. They are usually seen in pairs but they may also gather in a flock of up to 10 to 20 birds. The difference from other parrots though is that they do not talk, instead, they have harsh and rasping growls. Dracula parrots belong to the wild so they don’t make good pets as they can be aggressive towards humans.
Their breeding season is from February to April or May, and females lay 2 eggs. They build their nests in hollow trees, and the females incubate the eggs for 27 to 31 days. During the incubation period, the males will feed the females but both will nurse the chicks after they hatch. Dracula parrot chicks start fledging after around 12 weeks.
3Feeding & Habitat
Don’t let the name make you think otherwise, Dracula parrots do not drink blood. Pesquet’s parrots are frugivores so they primarily consume fruits, and their favorite meals are figs native to New Guinea. They also feed on flowers, mangoes, nectars, and seeds, and these birds are seasonally nomadic in response to food sources.
The almighty Dracula parrots are endemic to New Guinea where they inhabit hills, montane rainforests, and mountains. Where they live, they build their nests on tree cavities and roost on high-up branches. The interesting part is that they move from one tree to another by hopping and jumping, and they fly, of course. They fly by alternating their flying pattern between short glides and rapid flapping to find a perch.
4Predators & Threats
The information about their predators is unclear but it could be the same predators to other parrots. So the predators of the Pesquet’s parrots (mostly juveniles) could be bats, birds of prey, and snakes.
As for their status, they are Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to threats from humans. Because of their high price on the market, people capture and overhunt them to sell their colorful feathers. One Dracula parrot can cost as much as $3000 or more, shipping fee excluded. This is why many people capture them to sell as pets though it is illegal to own them. Apart from these, habitat loss and the rarity of their preferred fig species also play a part in their population decline.
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