As its nickname “Dracula Parrot” implies, Pesquet’s Parrots are a bit frightening to look at. In fact, the bird resembles a vulture in its face, resulting in the nickname “Vulture Parrot.” On top of its striking appearance, the Pesquet’s Parrot is a relatively rare bird.
Between its rarity and scary look, Pesquet’s Parrots are not frequent pets, but they can make great additions at zoos and professional aviaries. To learn more about Pesquet’s Parrots, read on.
|Pesquet’s Parrot, Vulture Parrot, Vulturine Parrot, Dracula Parrot
|18 in, 24-28 oz
Origin and History
The Pesquet’s Parrot is a rare bird only found in New Guinea. More specifically, you can primarily only find it in rainforests in the area. Although you can sometimes find the parrot in lowlands, it is almost exclusively in foothills and lower mountain areas.
Interestingly, the Pesquet’s Parrot is the only bird of its genus. So, it is a completely unique parrot that has not been bred for domestication or other purposes.
There isn’t much of a history concerning these birds until recently. They have primarily been left alone, though their conservation status is vulnerable. It is predicted that hunting and loss of habitat are the causes for their declining status.
As for hunting, their feathers are considered very valuable, and their skins are often used as a bride price. You can find many tourist mementos made from these feathers in the area. Conservation measures have been suggested, but they haven’t made much of a difference yet.
Very little is known about the Pesquet’s Parrot’s temperament because they aren’t common pets. These birds are not very aggressive. Even though they look like vultures, they exclusively eat fruits, flowers, and sometimes nectar. In fact, these birds almost exclusively eat figs.
Because Pesquet’s Parrots only eat fruits, they have been adapting and living seasonally nomadic lifestyles. This allows them to live on figs as they are available based on the seasons.
They like to be active during the day and are often found in groups of two or more. Some of these parrots enjoy living in groups of up to 20, but you can find some Pesquet’s Parrots living on their own too.
Speech & Vocalizations
If you’re looking for a bird that has beautiful sounds and songs, the Pesquet’s Parrot is not for you. Instead, this parrot makes a sound that almost sounds like a raspy or growly scream. When in flight, this terrifying sound can easily be heard from a distance.
Many people compare the Pesquet’s Parrots songs to the sound of a heavy cloth being ripped. If you are familiar with what a Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo sounds like, the Pesquet’s Parrot sounds similar.
Pesquet’s Parrot Colors and Markings
Pesquet’s Parrots are one of the most unique looking parrots, though they can hardly be described as cute or adorable. In their body, they look like many other parrots, complete with a robust plumage and long talons. It is the head that really makes the Pesquet’s Parrots stand out from the rest.
In comparison to its body, the parrot’s head is very small and slender. Its face resembles a vulture more than a parrot. This vulture-like appearance causes the bird to look very scary, though it is not very aggressive.
As for the coloration, Pesquet’s Parrots are exclusively black and red. Their head, breast, wing tips, and tail are all black, whereas its belly, upper tail, and wing panels are bright red. Adult males have a red spot behind their eyes, but females lack this spot.
Caring for the Pesquet’s Parrot
Caring for a Pesquet’s Parrot is notoriously difficult because these creatures are accustomed to living in the wild. They have not been domesticated and are not suitable parrots to keep as a home pet.
Instead, Pesquet’s Parrots should be kept in the wild and should only be owned by professional aviaries and zoos.
Regular homes and pet owners will not be able to provide their Pesquet’s Parrot the diet and large housing it requires to be comfortable, happy, and healthy.
If you must read a quick article on how to care for Pesquet’s Parrots, you likely do not have the experience or skills to own one.
Common Health Problems
Not much is known about common health problems that plague these birds. Because they are rarely kept in captivity, scientists have not been able to study them like they have other types of birds.
In the wild, it appears that hunting, competition for resources, and competition for space are the primary killers of these birds. In other words, it doesn’t appear that the parrots are more vulnerable to health problems than any other parrot.
Diet and Nutrition
Pesquet’s Parrots have an extremely strict diet. These birds almost exclusively eat specific types of figs. Occasionally, these birds will eat mangos, blossoms, or nectar, but figs are their primary diet. Scientists predict that the Pesquet’s Parrot has a bare face so that its feathers don’t get sticky when eating the fruit.
Pesquet’s Parrots eat insects too, but it is assumed that these insects are eaten only because they are located on or in the fruit.
Pesquet’s Parrots are a type of bird that needs a lot of roaming and exercise. Since they have not been bred domestically, these birds are wild creatures and need a lot of area to fly. Regular home cages will simply not offer enough space for these large birds.
For this reason, we only recommend Pesquet’s Parrot to professional aviaries that have the resources and size to take on a wild bird of this size. If you are a regular homeowner, we suggest a different parrot as a pet.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Pesquet’s Parrot
As we mentioned above, we would not recommend regular homeowners or pet owners to adopt a Pesquet’s Parrot. Not only are these birds wild and difficult to care for, but they are also considered vulnerable by official conservation status.
Professional aviaries might be able to find specialized breeders and programs that offer Pesquet’s Parrots. However, we recommend being cautious when purchasing new birds since many people illegally hunt them for their large profits.
You will not be able to find a Pesquet’s Parrot at local pet stores, adoption agencies, or other common locations because of their rarity.
The Pesquet’s Parrot is a super unique bird that looks a bit frightening, but it wouldn’t hurt a fly, except by accident when eating figs. Even though these birds are not as aggressive as others, they make terrible pets because they are not domesticated and have specific diet requirements that most people cannot provide.
Even if you consider yourself an experienced bird owner, you should get a different bird instead. Leave Pesquet’s Parrots to professional aviaries that have the experience, resources, and space to care for these large and wild creatures.
Featured Image Credit: Alexandr Junek Imaging, Shutterstock
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.