The Grey-cheeked Parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera), less commonly known as Fire-winged Parakeet, is a species of parrot in the Psittacidae family.
The Grey-cheeked Parakeet was described and named by John Latham in 1801.
It is mostly green in color with characteristic gray cheeks and a gray-blue crown. The underside of the wings bears a bright orange swath between the lesser coverts and the mantle earning them the name "Orange-flanked parakeet", and the primary flight feathers are normally blue or bluish green in color. Indeed, the species name pyrrhoptera, (lit. flame wing) gives light to these attributes. The average wingspan, length, and weight are 117 mm., 20 cm., and 54 grams, respectively. The average lifespan in captivity is approximately 23 years. Grey-cheeks vocalize quite loudly despite their size. The sound could be described as a quick, sharp screech, and vocalizations may involve many monotone screeches in succession.
Distribution and habitat
The Grey-cheeked Parakeet is indigenous to northwestern Peru and western Ecuador, living in subtropical or tropical regions encompassing dry forests, moist lowland forests, shrubland, and arable land.
Grey-cheeked Parakeets do not build their nests in the canopies of trees. Rather, they prefer to build their nests in protected areas such as active termite mounds or tree hollows. It is yet unknown why termites tolerate their presence. Their eggs, which are about 2 cm. x 1.6 cm. are laid in clutches of four to six eggs in a nest padded with moss. The hen will incubate the eggs for about 25-26 days while the male stands guard outside the nest.
In captivity in Cuenca, Ecuador
The grey-cheeked parakeet now faces habitat loss due to the irresponsible smuggling of pet birds and hunting due to their destruction of banana plantations. The species is now endangered with most populations existing within the homes of private individuals as pets. Because of this, efforts have been undertaken to save this and several other species of Brotogeris endemic to the region. It is protected by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also called the Bonn Convention or CMS).
Even in its native home, the grey-cheeked parakeet is widely kept as a pet. With patience, these birds may be taught to mimic human sounds, albeit without the clarity of larger parrots.
- ^ Harris, pp. 6-7
- ^ Birdlife (through IUCN)
- ^ Harris, p. 89
- ^ Harris, p. 105
- ^ a b c Vriends, p. 210
- ^ BirdLife
- ^ "CMS Appendix I" (PDF). 2006-02-23. http://www.cms.int/documents/appendix/additions_table.pdf.