Brown-breasted Parakeet (Pyrrhura calliptera)
By the color of my chest I am called Brown-breasted Parakeet, although the name by which I was known before, Flame-winged Parakeet, I liked most! My scientific name, Pyrrhura calliptera, sounds complicated, especially for those unfamiliar with the Greek language, like me. However, after someone explained it to me, I liked it also because it honors my most beautiful features! I mean, they named me Pyrrhura (like all the species of my genus), because in Greek this term means “having a shining red tail” and so I do!
But what I like most is my “second name,” calliptera. This defines me as a species and means, also in Greek, having beautiful wings, and so I have them, too! They flash a beautiful yellow when I go flying through the sky.
With such a beautiful profile even the brown feathers of my chest and my throat are nice because they combine well with the green color of my body feathers, my blackish crown, the reddish brown spot on my belly, and the feathers covering my ears. In addition my wing tips are blue so I think I look like an artists’ palette of colors!
I measure about 9 inches long including my tail, and I like to eat seeds and fruits of many plants, including those of the Melastomataceae family and also clusia, ficus, yarumos (cecropia), blackberries, and even seeds of the frailejón in the páramo. I also like corn and unfortunately, sometimes I cause some damage to farmers’ cornfields.
I live mainly in cloud forests, now on the eastern side of the Eastern Andes but originally I could be found in other parts of the Eastern Cordillera. I live between about 5250 and 11,250 feet above sea level (1600 to 3400 meters) and sometimes even in the páramo.
Like all birds in the parrot family, I like to be together in small groups of about six to fourteen individuals. I fly very fast, and I can be quite noisy. Between September and February I nest in old tree holes and if these are not available I will use one of the artificial nest boxes installed by ProAves Foundation, and these have served me well.
Biologists estimate that there are only 5,000 to 10,000 individuals of my species left in the world. Deforestation and loss of our home, the forest, is the main problem we face, and that’s why our range has been shrinking so rapidly.
I’m unique to the Eastern Andes and endemic to Colombia,
I live in an area restricted solely to two departments: Cundinamarca and Boyacá,
I can be found in Chingaza National Park, which is only an hour and a half from Bogotá,
I’m considered a vulnerable species by biologists and should be protected,
I am beautiful and charismatic,
Birding Bogotá & Colombia has chosen me as its emblem!
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