The Alexandrine Parakeet or Alexandrian Parrot (Psittacula eupatria) is a member of the psittaciformes order and of the Psittaculidae family. The species is named after Alexander the Great, who is credited (blamed) with the exporting of numerous specimens of this bird from Punjab into various European and Mediterranean countries and regions, where they were considered prized possessions for the nobles and royalty.
The Alexandrine Parakeet is the largest species of all Parakeet (small Parrot with long tail) species, thus often being the largest Parrot in their native range. This species measures 58 cm (23 in) in total length with a wing length averaging 18.9–21.5 cm (7.5–8.5 in) and a tail length of 21.5–35.5 cm (8.5–14.0 in).
The following sub-species, many of them allopatric are recognised based on geographical distribution:
Psittacula eupatria eupatria, Nominate Alexandrine Parakeet – East India to Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh in the South, Sri Lanka.
Psittacula eupatria avensis, Indo-Burmese Alexandrine Parakeet – Northeast India to Amherst in Myanmar
Psittacula eupatria nipalensis, Nepalese Alexandrine Parakeet – Eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, North and central India, Nepal, Bhutan to Assam in Northeast India.
Psittacula eupatria siamensis, Laos’ or Siamese Alexandrine Parakeet – Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, north and east Thailand
Of these, I have seen the nominate and the Nepalese subspecies.
Because they have such a large range, you can plan birding trips to Central and South-east Asia and have a good chance to spot them. I have seen them in Chitwan National Park, Nepal & Kithulgala & Sinharaja in Sri Lanka.
After a hard day’s work walking uphill to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, what could be better than a lazy afternoon kicking back with a cold drink and watching Alexandrine Parakeets and other birds fly past? And when bird activity dies down, there were still farmers at work and beautiful green fields. For some reason, it was very hazy. This will be a lazy pictorial post of my lazy afternoon and the following morning trying to get the best photos I could.
During my brief visit to Bangalore, I caught up with a friend who lives there and is very passionate about conservation and wildlife rescue. Avin Deen is also the Indian representative for the World Parrot Trust. Avin picked us up at the Park Plaza in the morning and we had quite a long drive out to Bannerghatta as we hit peak hour traffic but it did give us more time to chat. During our last visit to India, Avin had taken us to SAI Sanctuary and on a birding excursion to Coorg and he was also keen to find out what birds we saw on our recent trip.
WRRC has been rendering the following services to wild animals:
Rescue of wild life from injuries, accidents, illegal wildlife trade and other sources
Prevention of cruelty
Information and expertise
Campaigns and legal battles in support of wildlife
Research and surveys on captive elephants.
Most recently, they rescued 21 Alexandrine Parakeet chicks who had been recovered from wildlife poachers and were in the process of rehabilitating them to be returned to the wild. Full story is here. They also have a large number of Rose-Ringed Parakeets. In these photos you can see some parakeets in their aviary as they recover their health.
These birds are actually very lucky as if they had not been rescued they would have had a miserable life in a tiny crowded cage or more likely died from the mistreatment. But thanks to WRRC, they will fly free again someday. WRRC has other birds and animals as well.
Avin Deen & Dr. Roopa Sathish
Ina Tuatai, Tara Tuatai, Dr. Roopa Sathish & Mr Anand
WRRC needs as much help as they can get to continue with their very important work as they are very limited in funds. For more information on how you can help WRRC, become a volunteer or organize a visit if you are visiting Bangalore, please see their website and contact them as below.
I usually plan trips at least a year in advance and book them when the last segment I need is within the 11 month booking window. So hastily throwing together a trip to India & Sri Lanka was totally out of character for me. I had been planning to do this trip in 2015 but when US Airways announced a major rebate promo, I couldn’t resist bringing it forward!
I knew which parrots I was targeting. I never tire of seeing India’s beautiful Malabar Parakeets, Alexandrines and other psittaculas. I was also dying to see the stunning Layard’s Parakeet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot and many other bird species.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
I had enough miles to book us in business class on Thai outbound and Singapore return. This is a Central Asian award.
Since Sri Lankan Airlines hasn’t yet joined One World (only 4500 with Avios) and Air India hasn’t yet joined Star Alliance I had to pay for a bridging flight between Bangalore (via Chennai) and Colombo. The cheapest flight was on Spice Jet which I booked on their website.
I spent a day reading reports of bird sightings and put together the itineraries for both countries based on which locations had my desired parrot species and as many other species. In India, I knew I wanted to visit Coorg, Wayanad and Mudumalai.