Psittacula parrots in Barcelona, and in Aust

Subject: Psittacula parrots in Barcelona, and in Aust
From: Frank Hemmings <>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 09:15:21 +1100
Further to Michael Norris' comments about Psittacula parrots in Barcelona, I saw many parrots in Barcelona on a day trip and also in Sitges where we stayed for a week nearby (2003). They certainly didn't appear to be Rose-ringed parrakeets (P. krameri) to me, which I had seen well on a number of occasions in London. I put these Spanish introductions down to the Monk Parrakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) from South America instead (the only other introduced parrot in my field guide) and given the choice of the two they appeared closer to this species to me. Monk Parrakeets are said to roost colonially, and these birds were doing exactly that in Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera) in Guell Park in the west of Barcelona. A quick search on Google produced a number of references to Monk Parrakeets being firmly entrenched in Barcelona, even though they were not listed down for Spain in my filed guide (first fault I have found with this guide so far!), so I'm pretty certain that the species in question in Barcelona is the Monk Parrakeet and not a Psittacula sp.

Anyway regardless of species, they were certainly very common there and no doubt competing with other native birds for nest holes.

As for Psittacula species in Australia, there was a small and no doubt unreported colony of Psittacula species, close in colour to P.krameri, at The Entrance/Long Jetty area adjacent to Tuggerah Lakes in the '80s. I never kept records as a teenage birder, nor did I report anything to any official body, but would be surprised if others in the area did not note these at the time. I saw a few birds at first (can't remember if there were two or three), which was probably around 1983/84. They nested within that year in a hollow at the top of a dead branch in a large Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) tree. I saw them on most, but certainly not all occasions, when I walked along the cycle track between The Entrance and Long Jetty which ran alongside Tuggerah Lake. Since I spent almost all my school holidays at my gradnparents' house at The Entrance, and walked this track most mornings, I saw them reasonably often, and there calls usually revealed their presence Over the ensuing years the numbers built up to around 15-20 birds, and they seemed to have moved slightly further south to Long Jetty. After about 1988, I never saw them again.

I don't know if a disease knocked them off, or if they were destroyed as pests, or even if someone attempted to trap them, or even if they moved on elsewhere but one year there seemed to be quite a few and then there were none in any of their old locations. Since nobody has subsequently reported them I guess they are well and truly gone.

I guess we, and not the parrots, were lucky then, but we can't necessarily hope to be lucky again. Nowadays, knowing more about the dangers that introductions of species foreign to an area may bring, I'd be quick to alert somebody.



Frank Hemmings
John T. Waterhouse Herbarium
School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Sciences
University of New South Wales

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