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A photo of a Finsch's Parakeet (Psittacara finschi)
Finsch's Parakeet

Finsch's Parakeet

Psittacara finschi

The Finsch's parakeet, also known as the crimson-fronted parakeet or Finsch's conure in aviculture, is a vibrant bird of the Psittacidae family. Adults measure approximately 28 cm in length and weigh between 135 to 175 grams. They exhibit a predominantly green plumage with a yellowish hue on the underparts. A distinctive red forehead and scattered red flecks on the head, along with red-edged wings and outer underwing coverts, often tinged with orange, are characteristic. Their greater underwing coverts are yellow, and the undersides of their flight feathers and tail are olive yellow. The thighs may also show red markings. An orange eye is set in bare white skin, and the bill is horn-colored.

Identification Tips

To identify the Finsch's parakeet, look for the red forehead and the yellowish-green underparts. The red and orange tinges on the wings are also key identifiers. Juveniles are similar to adults but have less red on the head and none on the thighs, and their eyes are gray.

Habitat

This species thrives in a range of semi-open to open landscapes, including woodlands, forest edges, secondary forests, ranchlands, agricultural areas with tree groves, coffee plantations, and urban areas.

Distribution

Finsch's parakeet is native to Central America, with its range extending from southeastern Nicaragua through Costa Rica and into Panama, up to the Azuero Peninsula.

Behaviour

Finsch's parakeet is a sociable bird, often seen in flocks of around 30 individuals, though roosts can number in the hundreds. They exhibit irregular and seasonal movements, particularly during the dry season when they are more prevalent on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of Finsch's parakeet are a distinctive part of its presence, often heard as a jangling chattering in flight. Sharp squeaky notes and loud harsh calls can also be heard, described as "scree-ah".

Breeding

Breeding season in Costa Rica occurs from December to May, with a suspected nesting period in July for Panama. They nest in tree cavities, sometimes excavating the rotten wood themselves, and may nest semi-colonially. Clutch size is typically three to four eggs, but details on incubation and fledging are not well documented.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists of fruits and flowers from various plants and trees, as well as maize and sorghum. An unusual behavior observed is feeding on wood, which is not common among parrots.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Finsch's parakeet as Least Concern, with a stable population estimated at over half a million mature individuals. It is abundant in Nicaragua, common in Costa Rica, and locally common in Panama. Deforestation has led to an increase in the open landscapes it prefers, and it has not been significantly affected by the cage bird trade.

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