Classification Order Psittaciformes, Family Psittacidae Scientific Name Deroptyus Accipitrinus Other Common Names Hawk headed Parrot
Species Description The bird is the only New World parrot that has
a raisable ruff. Its ruff, like a cockatoo's crest can be raised or
lowered at will, but the hawkhead's ruff is like an indian headress
or a lion's mane and is very surprising the first time it is seen.
The feathers on the ruff and on the chest are bright red with the
edges scalloped in an electric blue. The beak is black and the eyes
are orange. The color contrast is striking and the birds are
beautiful. They are not easy to breed and not too common in the
It generally lives in undisturbed forest,
feeding in the canopy on fruits. It nests in holes in trees and
stumps, laying two to three eggs. Only two nests have been examined
in the wild, both had one chick.
Habitat The parrots can be found in lowland rainforest
in pairs or occasionally groups of three to eight individuals
feeding in the canopy.
Distribution Hawk headed parrots live in scattered areas of
northern South America east of the Andes Mountains in parts of
Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.
Captivity Hawk headed parrots are generally very active.
They love to climb around and are acrobats, and their housing needs
in captivity should accommodate this. A macaw or cockatoo size cage
with no greater than one-inch bar spacing is appropriate. The cage
should not be smaller than 36 inches long by 24 inches wide by 50
inches high. A cage that is too small can contribute to behavioral
problems such as aggression. Hawk-heads can be extremely destructive
for their size, so a good quality wrought-iron or steel cage is
probably the best choice. Of course, even in the largest of cages,
hawk-heads need plenty of time out of the cage with their owners.
Summary Parrots, also known as psittacines, are birds
of the roughly 372 species in 86 genera that make up the order
Psittaciformes, found in most warm and tropical regions. The order
is subdivded in three families: the Psittacidae (true parrots), the
Cacatuidae (cockatoos) and the Nestoridae. Parrots have a
pan-tropical distribution with several species inhabiting the
temperate Southern Hemisphere as well. The greatest diversity of
parrots is found in South America and Australia.
Characteristic features of parrots include a strong curved
bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet.
Most parrots are predominantly green, with other bright colors, and
some species are multi-colored. Cockatoo species range from mostly
white to mostly black, and have a mobile crest of feathers on the
top of their heads. Most parrots are monomorphic or minimally
sexually dimorphic. Extant species range in size from the Buff-faced
Pygmy-parrot, at under 10 g (0.35 oz.) in weight and 8 cm (3.2
inches) in length, to the Hyacinth Macaw, at 1.0 meter (3.3 feet) in
length, and the Kakapo, at 4.0 kg (8.8 lbs) in weight. They are the
most variably sized bird order in terms of length.
most important components of most parrots' diets are seeds, nuts,
fruit, buds and other plant material, and a few species also eat
insects and small animals, and the lories and lorikeets are
specialised to feed on nectar from flowers, and soft fruits. Almost
all parrots nest in tree holes (or nestboxes in captivity), and lay
white eggs from which emerge altricial (helpless) young.
Parrots, along with crows, jays and magpies, are some of the most
intelligent birds, and the ability of some parrot species to imitate
human voices enhances their popularity as pets. Trapping of wild
parrots for the pet trade, as well as other hunting, habitat loss
and competition from invasive species, have diminished wild
populations, and parrots have been subjected to more exploitation
than any other group of birds. Recent conservation measures to
conserve the habitats of some of the high-profile charismatic parrot
species has also protected many of the less charismatic species
living in the ecosystem.