Sula Hanging Parrots

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Hanging Parrots General Info and Species Listing ... Photos of the Various Hanging Parrot Species for Identification

Sula Hanging Parrots (Loriculus sclateri sclateri) are endemic to the islands of Sula (Taliabu, Mangole and Sanana) as well as Banggai in the Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes) - part of the Maluku island group in Indonesia, where they typically occur in primary and secondary subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests areas up to 450m (1476 ft) - mainly at the forest edge. May also be seen on remnant tall trees in cultivated areas and plantations.

They are seen alone, or in pairs or small groups. The possible threat to their existence constitute trapping for the bird trade and loss of habitat.


Taxonomy

Loriculus sclateri forms part of the Loriculus stigmatus (Sulawesi or Celebes Hanging Parrot) superspecies. Sometimes they are treated as conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species) with Loriculus amabilis (Moluccan Hanging Parrots) and Loriculus catamene (Sangihe Hanging Parrots). One sub-species is proposed, namely the Loriculus stigmatus ruber (Meyer and Wiglesworth, 1896) from specimens found in Peleng, Banggai and Labobo Islands - based on the red mantle and back that can also be seen in the Loriculus amabilis (Moluccan Hanging Parrots). However, these markings are likely to be age-related. It's now mostly considered monotypic (one single species)


Description

The Sula Hanging Parrot averages 6 inches or 15 cm in length (including tail).

Both adults look alike; except the female has brown eyes while the male has pale yellow eyes.

The plumage is mostly green. The chin and throat are red. There are orange-yellow markings on the mantle and back. The rump and upper tail coverts are crimson extending to the tip of the tail. There is a red carpal edge (= leading edge of the wing at the "shoulder"). The tail is green tipped with yellow-green. The bill is black.

Observers note that when the Sula Hanging Parrots fly they could hear a distinctive 'whirring' to their wings, as is the case with hummingbirds.


Calls / Vocalization

Their calls are described as weak and high-pitched. At times a varying buzzy and di or trisyllabic notes repeated rapidly.


Diet

Their natural diet consists mainly of soft fruits - particularly wild figs, guava and berries - as well as flower buds and blossoms. They also feed onnectar and seeds.

Captive specimens should be provided lory nectar, as well as plenty of fruit (fig, pear, apple, banana) and vegetables (carrot, spinach, green salad). They should also be fed a good quality seed mix consisting of various millets, canary grass seed, some niger and oats, and millet sprays (both sprouted and unsprouted).

During the rearing season, it's important to provide them with plenty of soft food items, includingsoftened rusk, eggfood and mealworm larvae.


Breeding

The first breeding season commences in January and lasts until April; and - providing conditions are right -- breeding activities can again be observed from July to September.

During the course of the courtship display, the male approaches female with short strutting steps and little hops and makes warbling sounds, extending his neck to show off his blue throat patch, raising his red rump and spreading his tail feathers. Courtship feeding has been recorded.

They nest in dead tree stumps or trees, favoring long, narrow hollows with small entrance holes. The female is seen carrying nesting material that may include pieces of bark and leaves in her rump feathers into the nest for nest lining. A clutch may consist of 2 to 4 white eggs. Only the female incubates the eggs for 20 days while the male feeds her. Each eggs measures 0.06 to 0.07 inches (~15 mm to 18.7 mm). The young fledge when they are about32 days old, and they are independent 10 days after fledging.

Aviculture:

There are no records of successfully captive breeding.

Speaking in general terms, hanging parrots are fairly quiet parrots, with a pleasant personality. Newly imported birds have been found to susceptible to fungal infections and special care should be taken during the adjustment period. Strict hygiene is necessary and daily spraying during the acclimatization period is advised. Once acclimatized, this species is quite hardy. They do fine in a colony environments with other hanging parrots. They should be provided a regular supply of branches (willow, elder). They need to have a roosting box available at all times.

These active little parrots need plenty of room for exercising. Ideally, they should be kept in a spacious and well-planted aviary with minimum dimensions of 6 x 3 x 6 ft (2 x 1 x 2m). A spacious cage with daily opportunities for flight is acceptable, although not ideal.

They need to be protected from temperatures below 59°F(15 °C) and newly imported birds should be kept at temperatures of 70°F (22°C) or warmer.

  • Please refer to this webpage for additional information on housing and breeding your hanging parrots.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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