The Pesquet’s Parrot, Psittrichas fulgidus, also known as the Vulturine Parrot (leading to easy confusion with Gypopsitta vulturina from Brazil), is the only member of its genus, and its genus is the only member of the tribe psittrichadini. It is endemic to hill and montane rainforest in New Guinea.
It is a large parrot with a total length of approximately 46 cm (18 in) and a weight of 690-800 g (24-28 oz). Its plumage is black, with greyish scaling to the chest, and a red belly, uppertail coverts and wing-panels.
The male is slightly larger than the female and has a small red spot behind the eye.
Compared to most other parrots it appears unusually small-headed, in part due to the bare black facial skin and the relatively long, hooked bill. This rather vulture-like profile is the reason behind its alternative common name.
The Pesquet’s Parrot is a highly specialised frugivore, feeding almost exclusively on a few species of figs. Flowers and nectar have also been reported.
At least in parts of its range, it is seasonally nomadic in response to the availability of fruits.
The bare part of the head is presumably an adaption to avoid feather-matting from sticky fruits.
Breeding / Nesting:
Little is known about its breeding habits in the wild, but the two eggs are laid in a nest in a large, hollow tree. It is typically seen in pairs or groups up to 20 individuals. In flight it alternates between rapid flapping and short glides.
The feathers of Pesquet’s Parrot are highly prized. This combined with high prices in aviculture has resulted in overhunting. Habitat loss also presents an on-going problem. For these reasons, it is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The Pesquet’s Parrot is listed on Appendix II of CITES.