Vulnerable Seychelles Black Parrot hatchlings take to the skies

Seychelles Black Parrot

Seychelles Black ParrotSeychelles Black Parrot – Every year in the palm forests of Praslin, the second-largest island on the archipelago of Seychelles, a group of birds is monitored very closely during their breeding and hatching seasons.

This shy greyish-brown parrot – perhaps overenthusiastically named as the Seychelles Black Parrot (Coracopsis barklyi) – cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.

The Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), a public trust which manages the unique endemic palm forest reserve of the Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island, painstakingly searches for black parrot nests and monitors them on a weekly basis throughout the season to count the number of eggs produced and monitor the hatching and fledgling stages.

This year 17 chicks hatched from monitored nests, according to SIF’s communication officer, Lynsey Rimbault.

“In the three seasons between 2012 and 2015, more than 20 chicks from monitored nests hatched per season but the 2015/2016 season only had two chicks hatch from monitored nests,” she told SNA.

Surrounded by predators

Seychelles Black Parrot ChicksWith only a few hundred of these birds left in the wild, the black parrot is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. Threatened by invasive bird species such as the Indian Mynah and the green ring-necked parakeet, black parrot chicks are in constant danger from other aggressive birds, feral cats, rats and even invasive ants. Even the endemic trees in which they need to nest are under threat – especially the coco de mer palm trees which have often been the victims of poaching for their famous coco de mer nuts.

Rimbault says it is surprisingly difficult to confirm predation attempts at nests because usually very little evidence is found to link potential predators to the disappearance of eggs or chicks.

“We suspect that there have been cases of rat predation this season although there has not been any direct evidence of this,” she said. “In one nest, yellow crazy ants were observed with two healthy chicks, and when the nest was monitored the following week the chicks were dead. We can’t be sure but it’s possible that these invasive ants contributed to the death of the chicks.”

When the monitored chicks reached around 25 days old in January this year, the SIF team fitted coloured rings to their legs to allow identification and monitoring after they leave the nest. Each chick gets its own unique colour combination and number.

Seychelles Black Parrot Monitoring

The tiny fluffy white chicks that survive the perilous hatching phase slowly lose their baby feathers and after around 45 days, once their dark brown plumage has grown in, they take their first precarious flight out of the nest.

Although none of the rings from this year’s fledged chicks have thus far been confirmed from re-sightings, SIF has reported several observations of adult parrots feeding smaller parrots, which are thought to be the fledglings.

Fond Ferdinand – a new hope for the Seychelles Black Parrot

In addition to the successful nests this year in the Vallée de Mai and the neighbouring Praslin National Park, at least one nest is known to have been successful in another private reserve on Praslin Island called Fond Ferdinand, where an un-ringed fledgling was spotted in Fond Ferdinand.

“We only monitor parts of Fond Ferdinand and only a few nests per season so we don’t have data to give a complete answer on [the population size],” said Rimbault. “In general, there seems to be good breeding activity in Fond Ferdinand, but the nests appear to be more spread out than in the denser coco de mer forest of the Vallée de Mai.”

Seychelles Black Parrot PairThe sighting in Fond Ferdinand is encouraging news for the conservationists, as it was thought the success rate of nests in Fond Ferdinand was low this season, with only one chick from the known nests surviving to fledging stage. SIF believes the parrots might have been more successful than initially thought in this reserve and are considering undertaking more extensive searches next season to find undiscovered nesting cavities.

For now though, SIF is satisfied that the Seychelles black parrot has clawed through another hard breeding season.

“Our monitoring suggests that the population is stable at the moment and there is no cause for concern,” Rimbault told SNA. “The most recent population estimate was conducted in 2010-11 and the total population was estimated to be between 550 and 900 birds. This is still thought to be the case.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

What should I feed my Parrot and Is this food OK to give to my parrot?

What should I feed my Parrot?

What should I feed my Parrot?

What should I feed my Parrot? and Is this food OK to give to my Parrot? are the two most common questions I get asked from existing and new customers of Parrot Essentials. Food is the single most important element of keeping your parrots healthy. What should I feed my Parrot? is a question which we should ask before even deciding on what parrot to get as a companion.

PARROTS & FOOD

Parrots are extremely intelligent and they apply this intelligence to every aspect of their life including food.

Based on years of personal experience I am sad to report that most of the companion parrots are either over fed or fed the wrong diet all together. This approach to feeding is very damaging to their health, can lead to string of illnesses and worst of all a bad diet can shorten the life expectancy of your pet by half or more.

How to tell if you are over-feeding your parrot?

Use this very simple method to find out if you are over-feeding. Fill the bowls with food in the morning. At around 7pm check if there is still food in the bowl. If there is any food left uneaten you are over feeding. If there isn’t, then you may be under feeding. This should include all the food offerings, not just the seeds or pellets. If you are offering fresh mix, fruit or veg this should also be accounted for.

By feeding the right amount you will keep your parrot in optimal health and safe money too by not wasting food.

How to choose the right diet for your parrot?

WHAT SHOULD I FEED MY PARROTIn our store you can shop by Shop by Parrot Species. Find yours and look at what is available and recommended.

If you are not sure and still have any questions, please post it on the website or give us a call on 0800 327 7511.

 

parrot diets

Complete Parrot Food

The complete parrot food is in the form of pellets and each pellet contains the exact amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals for a healthy and balanced parrot diet. When using a complete parrot food, you do not need to offer anything else as part of the diet. However, a lot of people like to give a little bit of fresh fruit and veg. That is fine if the fresh offering does not exceed 10% of the daily intake. If it does, then the diet is no longer complete.

Seed Based Parrot Food

Seed mixes for parrots should not be high on sunflower seeds or other fatty nuts and seeds (for example peanuts). The occasional fatty seed or nut is OK but it really should be used only as a treat and not on a daily basis. This is especially important for parrot who spend most of their time inside the cage.

Fresh Parrot Mixes

Seed sprouts, mixed with fresh fruit and veg have a higher nutritional value compared to non-sprouted seeds. The mix is tasty and readily accepted by most companion parrots. This type of parrot mix can be easily adapted to mimic the food your parrots will consume in the wild. Here is a link of how we make our Fresh Sprouted Mix. We came up with this mix a few years back after having a lengthy conversation with the renowned Neil Forbes (Great Wester Exocotics) about a way of feeding our birds a fresh and healthy food.  In this article we describe Step by Step of how to sprout and prepare the Fresh Parrot Mix.

Benson’ story (an example of bad diet)

This is the story of Bensons. An African Grey parrot we rescued a few years ago, who sadly is no longer with us only because she was on a poor diet. Benson’s owner (a friend of a friend) could no longer look after Benson and we were asked if we could care for her. When Benson arrived, we were advised that all she was fed during her lifetime was sunflower seed and an occasional apple or grape. Benson was 20 years old (owner had her from a baby).

As a responsible parrot owner, I immediately started the process of changing Benson’ diet to a healthier alternative. I was shocked but not surprised when she immediately started eating the new food offering and completely refused to eat sunflower seeds ever again.
Sadly, Benson had a heart attack after approximately 3 years with us and the autopsy revealed a fatty liver and clogged arteries.

I knew that she would not have a long life but I honestly expected her to be with us for at least another 5 – 10 years. My conversation with the Vet revealed that most African Greys on a bad diet do not make it past the age of 35. Just to clarify the life expectancy of an African Grey parrot is 50 – 60 years.

How to Change your Parrot’s Diet

Start by asking: What should I feed my parrot? If you think that your parrot is not eating well or is too fussy and will not eat what is good for a parrot, simply start by reducing the daily food offering. In a few days, you will see that your parrot will start trying new things.

If you think that a change of diet is what is required, choose the right one for your pet and slowly introduce the new food over a 4 – 6 week period. During this period gradually reduce the old food and increase the new food offering.

As a result, you will have a much healthier companion pet.

For older parrots and birds who have been on a poor diet over a long period I would recommend pellets, not a seed or fresh mix. You can still offer a little bit of fresh food with the pellets.

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