Ever heard of Dracula parrot? If you have not, it is not surprising, because this unique bird, with the body of a parrot and the head of a vulture, is found only in the rainforests in the lower mountains of New Guinea. Also known as Pesquet’s parrot or vulturine parrot, this parrot has a grayish-black weathered overcoat of feathers. What sets it apart is the brilliant scarlet plumage on its chest and wings that contrasts perfectly with its dusty gray back, neck, wings, and tail.
Of the 393 different species of parrots, Dracula parrot is not only unique in looks, but in its feeding habits too. It feeds exclusively on a few species of figs and on the nectar of various flowers. Its vulture-like long, hooked beak is adapted to its feeding habits. If you’re wondering what does a Dracula parrot sounds like, it’s similar to that of a cockatoo. Its calls are punctuated by harsh screeching that is higher pitched, but softer.
Measuring nearly 20 inches (50 centimeters) in length, Dracula parrot weighs around 24 to 28 ounces (680 to 800 grams). The most striking feature of this bird is its featherless face, which makes it appear unusually small-headed. Only three other parrot species have featherless faces.
It is difficult to distinguish a male Dracula parrot from a female one since they both look quite similar. However, males have a red spot behind their ears, whereas females don’t. This differentiates the two. Unlike other parrots that climb from one branch to another, this parrot moves by jumping by rapidly flapping its wings and taking short glides.
Little is known about its breeding habits in the wild, but it usually makes its nest in large hollows of trees, where it lays its eggs. These birds are seen in pairs or groups of 20 or more. Despite its sinister-sounding name, Dracula parrot is prized as a pet and for its feathers.
What has brought this one-of-a-kind bird into the limelight is its dangerously low numbers. The dwindling Dracula parrot population is the result of its increasing loss of habitat, as also of poaching. Poachers have made Dracula parrot endangered due to its striking feathers, which are most sought after for use in ceremonial dresses.
Furthermore, Dracula parrot pet remains in high demand, which makes it vulnerable to poaching. It is also poached for its meat. So, can you own a Dracula parrot? Certainly not. This bird has been evaluated as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) List of Threatened Species. It is also listed on Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).