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Species
Agapornis roseicollis - Peach-faced lovebird (2) Alipiopsitta xanthops - Yellow-faced Parrot (1) Alisterus amboinensis - Moluccan King Parrot (1) Alisterus scapularis - Australian King Parrot (3) Amazona aestiva - Blue-fronted Amazon (12) Amazona agilis - Black-billed Parrot (4) Amazona albifrons - White-fronted Amazon (6) Amazona amazonica - Orange-winged Amazon (5) Amazona arausiaca - Red-necked Parrot (1) Amazona auropalliata - Yellow-naped amazon (3) Amazona autumnalis - Red-lored Amazon (8) Amazona barbadensis - Yellow-shouldered amazon (5) Amazona brasiliensis - Red-tailed Amazon (1) Amazona collaria - Yellow-billed Parrot (5) Amazona farinosa - Mealy Amazon (2) Amazona festiva - Festive Parrots (1) Amazona finschi - Lilac crowned Amazon (12) Amazona guildingii - St. Vincent Amazon (7) Amazona imperialis - Imperial Amazon (1) Amazona l. bahamensis - Bahama Parrot (5) Amazona l. caymanensis - Grand Cayman Parrot (5) Amazona l. hesterna - Cayman Brac Parrot (5) Amazona lilacina - Ecuador Amazon (4) Amazona ochrocephala - Yellow-crowned Amazon (3) Amazona oratrix - Yellow-headed Amazon (21) Amazona rhodocorytha - Red-browed Amazon (2) Amazona tucumana - Tucumán Amazon (1) Amazona ventralis - Hispaniola Parrots (3) Amazona versicolor - Saint Lucia Amazon (1) Amazona vinacea - Vinaceous-breasted Amazon (3) Amazona viridigenalis - Red-crowned Amazon (30) Amazona vittata - Puerto Rican Amazon (16) Amazona xantholora - Yellow-lored Amazon (1) Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus - Hyacinth Macaw (5) Anodorhynchus leari - Lear's Macaw (3) Ara ambiguus - Great Green Macaw (8) Ara ararauna - Blue-and-Gold Macaw (30) Ara ararauna - Blue-and-Gold Macaw (12) Ara chloropterus- Green-winged macaw (12) Ara glaucogularis - Blue-throated Macaw (9) Ara macao - Scarlet Macaw (38) Ara militaris - Military Macaw (7) Ara rubrogenys - Red-fronted macaw (1) Aratinga acuticaudata - Blue-crowned Parakeet (4) Aratinga auricapillus - Gold-capped conure (1) Aratinga canicularis - Orange-fronted Parakeet (6) Aratinga erythrogenys - Red-masked Parakeet (14) Aratinga holochlora - Green Parakeet (7) Aratinga jandaya - Jenday conure (3) Aratinga leucophthalma - White-eyed Parakeet (1) Aratinga mitrata -Mitred Parakeet (14) Aratinga nana - Olive-throated Parakeet (1) Aratinga pertinax - Brown-throated Parakeet (1) Aratinga solstitialis - Sun Conure (2) Aratinga strenua - Pacific Parakeet (1) Aratinga wagleri - Scarlet-fronted Parakeet (1) Barnardius zonarius - Australian Ringneck (1) Bolborhynchus lineola - Barred Parakeet (1) Brotogeris chiriri - Yellow-chevroned parakeet (3) Brotogeris jugularis - Orange-chinned Parakeet (2) Brotogeris pyrrhoptera - Grey-cheeked Parakeet (2) Brotogeris versicolurus - White-winged Parakeet (1) Cacatua alba - Umbrella Cockatoo (8) Cacatua ducorpsii - Solomons Cockatoo (1) Cacatua galerita - Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (50) Cacatua goffiniana - Tanimbar Corella (8) Cacatua haematuropygia - Philippine Cockatoo (8) Cacatua leadbeateri - Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (4) Cacatua moluccensis - Salmon-crested Cockatoo (10) Cacatua ophthalmica - Blue-eyed Cockatoo (1) Cacatua p. pastinator - Muir's Corella (6) Cacatua pastinator - Western Corella (5) Cacatua sanguinea - Little Corella (42) Cacatua sulphurea - Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (12) Cacatua tenuirostris - Long-billed Corella (10) Callocephalon fimbriatum - Gang-gang Cockatoo (10) Calyptorhynchus banksii - Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (53) Calyptorhynchus baudinii - Baudin Cockatoo (37) Calyptorhynchus funereus - Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (13) Calyptorhynchus lathami - Glossy Black Cockatoo (18) Calyptorhynchus latirostris - Carnaby's Cockatoo (97) Chalcopsitta cardinalis - Cardinal Lory (1) Charmosyna amabilis - Red-throated Lorikeet (1) Charmosyna diadema - Caledonian lorikeet (1) Charmosyna placentis - Red-flanked lorikeet (1) Conuropsis carolinensis - Carolina Parakeet (5) Coracopsis n. barklyi - Seychelles Black Parrot (2) Cyanoliseus patagonus - Burrowing Parrot (5) Cyanopsitta spixii - Spix's Macaw (10) Cyanoramphus auriceps - Yellow-crowned Kakariki (2) Cyanoramphus cookii - Norfolk Parakeet (1) Cyanoramphus malherbi - Orange-fronted parakeet (12) Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae - Red-crowned Kakariki (16) Cyanoramphus ulietanus - Society parakeet (1) Cyanoramphus unicolor - Antipodes Island Parakeet (3) Cyanoramphus zealandicus - Black-fronted parakeets (1) Deroptyus accipitrinus - Hawk-headed parrot (1) Diopsittaca nobilis - Red-shouldered macaw (1) Eclectus roratus - Eclectus Parrot (10) Enicognathus leptorhynchus - Slender-billed parakeet (1) Eolophus roseicapilla - Galah (19) Eos squamata - Violet-necked Lory (2) Eunymphicus uvaeensis - Ouvea parakeet (1) Forpus coelestis - Pacific Parrotlet (1) Forpus conspicillatus - Spectacled Parrotlet (1) Forpus cyanopygius - Mexican Parrotlet (1) Forpus passerinus - Green-rumped Parrotlet (2) Geoffroyus geoffroyi - Red-cheeked Parrot (1) Glossopsitta porphyrocephala - Purple-crowned Lorikeet (1) Graydidascalus brachyurus - Short-tailed Parrot (1) Guaruba guaruba - Golden conure (3) Hapalopsittaca fuertesi - Fuerte's parrot (2) Lathamus discolor - Swift Parrot (20) Leptosittaca branickii - Golden-plumed Parakeet (2) Loriculus vernalis - Vernal Hanging Parrot (1) Lorius chlorocercus - Yellow-bibbed Lory (1) Lorius domicella - Black-capped Lory (1) Lorius domicella - Purple-naped Lory (2) Lorius garrulus - Chattering Lory (5) Lorius lorry - black-capped Lories (1) Melopsittacus undulatus - Budgerigar (25) Micropsitta keiensis - Yellow-capped pygmy parrot (1) Micropsitta pusio - Buff-faced pygmy parrot (1) Myiopsitta monachus - Monk Parakeet (93) Nandayus nenday - Black-hooded Parakeet (4) Neophema chrysogaster - Orange-bellied Parrot (41) Neophema petrophila - Rock Parrot (1) Neophema pulchella - Turquoise parakeet (2) Nestor chathamensis - Chatham Islands parrot (1) Nestor meridionalis - Kaka (24) Nestor notabilis - Kea (50) Nestor productus - Norfolk Island Kaka (1) Northiella haematogaster - Blue bonnet Parrot (1) Nymphicus hollandicus - Cockatiel (7) Ognorhynchus icterotis - Yellow-eared Parrot (5) Orthopsittaca manilata - Red-bellied macaw (1) Pezoporus flaviventris - Western Ground Parrot (15) Pezoporus occidentalis - Night Parrot (10) Pezoporus wallicus - Eastern ground parrot (2) Pezoporus wallicus - Eastern ground parrot (1) Pionites melanocephalus - Black-headed Caique (1) Pionus menstruus - Blue-headed parrot (2) Pionus senilis - White-crowned Parrot (1) Platycercus elegans - Crimson Rosella (6) Platycercus eximius - Eastern Rosella (4) Poicephalus fuscicollis - Brown-necked Parrot (1) Poicephalus robustus - Cape Parrot (5) Poicephalus senegalus - Senegal Parrot (2) Polytelis alexandrae - Princess Parrot (4) Polytelis anthopeplus - Regent Parrot (8) Polytelis swainsonii- Superb Parrot (14) Primolius auricollis - Yellow-collared macaw (1) Probosciger aterrimus - Palm Cockatoo (4) Psephotus chrysopterygius - Golden-shouldered Parrot (3) Psittacara chloroptera - Hispaniolan parakeet (1) Psittacella brehmii - Brehm's Tiger-parrot (1) Psittacula alexandri - Red-breasted Parakeet (1) Psittacula columboides - Malabar Parakeet (1) Psittacula cyanocephala - Plum-headed Parakeet (5) Psittacula derbiana - Derbyan Parakeet (5) Psittacula echo - Mauritius parakeet (3) Psittacula eupatria - Alexandrine Parakeet (18) Psittacula eupatria - Alexandrine Parakeet (4) Psittacula finschii - Grey-headed Parakeet (1) Psittacula himalayana - Slaty-headed Parakeet (1) Psittacula krameri - Ring-necked Parakeet (57) Psittacus erithacus - African Grey Parrot (45) Psittacus erithacus - African Grey Parrot (26) Psittrichas fulgidus - Pesquet's Parrot (1) Pyrrhura albipectus - White-breasted Parakeet (1) Pyrrhura caeruleiceps - Perijá Parakeet (2) Pyrrhura griseipectus - Grey-breasted Parakeet (2) Pyrrhura molinae - Green-cheeked Conure (1) Pyrrhura orcesi - El Oro Parakeet (3) Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha - Thick-billed Parrot (9) Strigops habroptilus - Kakapo (84) Tanygnathus lucionensis - Blue-naped Parrot (4) Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus - Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (1) Trichoglossus rubritorquis - Red-collared Lorikeet (2) Trichoglosus haematodus - Rainbow Lorikeets (17) Vini kuhlii - Kuhl's Lorikeet (1)
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Wednesday
May022012

New York's (now lost) native parrot

From an 1825 illustration by John James Audubon.As strange as it might sound, there were once parrots -- parakeets, specifically -- that were native to New York State. The range of the Carolina Parakeet stretched as far north as the Great Lakes, and there are historical reports of them in Albany.

They were brightly colored. They were loud. And by the late 1800s, they were gone from here. After the early 1900s, they were extinct.

Jeremy Kirchman -- the State Museum's curator of birds -- has been studying the Carolina Parakeet in order to figure out where the birds fit on the parakeet family tree. The State Museum has four of the parakeets in its collection. Two of them are now on display in the lobby gallery.

"They're unusal because they were the farthest north parrot in North America. It's unknown whether they were here year round, or seasonally," Kirchman told us today. He says the birds have been extinct for so long that there wasn't a chance to for them to be studied.

But Kirchman says what scientists do know a bit about their behavior -- and how that probably contributed to their downfall.

"They were crop pests and they were gregarious, meaning they would form flocks. And if they descended on your apple orchard, you'd defend it with a shot gun." Kirchman says just as farmers hunted down and shot wolves that threatened their livestock, they also went after the parakeets for threatening their crops.

Also part of their undoing: hats.

One of the fashion crazes of the 1800s included people adorning hats with brightly colored feathers. And who had bright, beautiful feathers? Yep, you guessed it.

"You certainly could have made money by selling shot parakeets to people making hats."

Add in the fact that the parakeets' habitat was the forested area of river valleys -- just the sort of place humans were building cities -- and there were no laws to protect wild bird populations, and the Carolina Parakeet's days were numbered. By the late 1800s they were rarely seen outside of Florida, and were considered extinct by the 1920s.

Where the bird sits in the tree

April issue of the journal of the American Ornithologists' UnionOne of Kirchman's research areas includes ancient bird DNA. So when he got to talking with a friend who was studying South American parakeets, he saw an opportunity to research where New York's (once) native parakeet fit into the bigger family tree. He was able to extract DNA from the State Museum's specimens and compare it against the DNA sequences of the other parakeets.

Kirchman says what he and researchers from New Mexico State University found is that the Carolina Parakeet sits on a long branch of the genetic tree. It's most closely related not to parakeets of from relatively nearby places such as Mexico and the Caribbean, but rather birds from Central and South America. Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses place C. carolinensis on a long branch within a well-supported clade of parakeets that also includes Aratinga solstitialis, A. auricapillus and Nandayus nenday. These species of Aratinga (but not N. nenday) closely resemble C. carolinensis in the presence of yellow and orange head plumage and blue feathers in the wings. By using the DNA evidence, they were able to infer that the Carolina Parakeet probably colonized North American about 5 million years ago. Their research was the cover article in the April issue of the journal of the American Ornithologists' Union.

Five million years is a good run. It's just tough when it ends on a hat.

Things are different now

As recently as just a few decades ago, other bird species in New York were in serious danger. Kirchman says the state had almost lost all its peregrine falcons, ospreys, and bald eagles. But environmental laws have made a signficant difference. "Because of tighter regulation on shooting birds, and pesticides, a lot of those populations are doing better now," he says.

Jeremy Kirchman will be giving a talk about the Carolina Parakeet at the State Museum this Saturday at 1 pm. It's free.

And, as mentioned, two of the museums four Carolina Parakeet specimens are on display in the museum's lobby for the next few months. Kirchman says there are only a few hundred specimens of the birds remaining in museum collections.

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