About The Blue-winged Parrotlet

An obscure bird, the blue-winged parrotlet is a small parrot species that is quite widespread across vast swathes of the South American continent. Though considered practically common across the Amazon Basin, this bird is actually a number of subspecies, five in total (six if one counts the turquoise rumped parrotlet, though some biologists consider that bird a separate species of its own), that go as far south as Argentina and as far north as Columbia as well as nearly ever forested area in between. Though the main differences between the different subspecies are mostly wrapped up in the coloration of plumage (some species have dark plumage as well as having differing amounts of yellow in their plumage), this bird is a far reaching survivor that has handled the deforestation of the past two hundred years surprisingly well.

The blue-winged parrotlet is a vividly colored bird, covered mostly in green feathers with their own shifts from green plumage to yellow plumage between the various subspecies, with feathers being different shades of green between the subspecies as well. The species is noticeably sexual dimorphic, meaning that there are some fairly noticeable differences between males and females. Males are the ones with the blue plumage, covering the edges of their wing feathers and part of their rump feathers as well. Females, on the other hand, lack this identifying blue plumage and are entirely green and yellow. Because of lack of blue plumage that gives the bird its name, females are often confused with another species, the green rumped parrotlet. However, in truth there is very little overlap in the areas the two species inhabit. Size wise, the birds are fairly short, averaging around 12 centimeters and quite stocky with a short tail that is tapered.

In the wild, the species lives in the drier forested areas of the Amazon Basin, such as riparian, open woodlands, the cerrado and caatinga lands, the savannas, palm groves and semi-arid scrublands. Also of note is that the species seems to be doing quite well in pastures, adapting to these human made environments with ease, a major reason why the species is list on the IUCN Red List as a species of Least Concern. In the wild, their diet consists heavily of the fruit of the trees in its range, the seeds of seeding grasses and flowers such as ambrosia. Highly social, these birds live in flocks that are typically around twenty birds but can grow to upwards of fifty should their land be particularly rich in fruit, seeds and flowers.

The species is, by and large, not a part of the wild bird trade, illicit and otherwise. These birds are only rarely kept as pets and there is little information out there about keeping them as pets. More noticeably, even a tame parrot tends to call for a great deal of care and attention to prevent it from becoming aggressive and violent, even with its owner. Though this particular species is practically unknown in captivity, like other parrots, it needs a great deal of attention.