Broad-billed Parrots


Broad-billed ParrotsThe Broad-billed Parrot (Lophopsittacus mauritianus) is an extinct parrot that formerly was found on the island of Mauritius.

The species is known from early drawings and subfossil bones.

It became extinct because of hunting and the predation by introduced pigs, monkeys and rats which fed on the eggs and young of this species.

It was most likely ground-nesting, which is a rare occurrence among parrots - the exeptions being the Kakapo, the Night Parrot and the Ground Parrot - due to their inability to fly.


Description

This was a large, heavy-set parrot,.

The males were similar in size to the Palm Cockatoo. The females were considerably smaller.

It had a long tail and a reduced flight apparatus and was probably flightless.

The bill was very large but comparatively weak and probably adapted to crush the pulp of large fruits so that they could be swallowed, pit and all.

The color was a bluish gray overall, and there was a small frontal crest. The discovery of the structure of the bill (which was previously thought to be adapted to cracking nuts) has led to the hypothesis that this bird, not the dodo, was one of the main animals responsible for propagation of the Tambalacoque or "dodo tree".


Taxonomy and Other Stats:

Description: General plumage greyish-blue, striking crest of feathers rising just above upper beak; massive head and very large, broad bill; wings disproportionately short; bill and feet probably dark grey or black; X-ray analyses of skeletal remains suggest bill very weak despite size. Female probably as male, but smaller. ... Length: about 70 cm (28 ins)

Status: Extinct ... Distribution: Formerly could be found in Mauritius, Mascarene Islands, now extinct

Genus: Scientific: Lophopsittacus ... English: Broad-billed Parrots ... Dutch: Mauritiuspapegaaien ... German: Mauritius-Papageien ... French: Perroquet avec bec large

Species: Scientific: Lophopsittacus mauritanicus ... English: Broad-billed Parrot ... Dutch: Mauritius Papegaai ... German: Mauritius Papagei ... French: Perroquet à bec large

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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