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Introducing the Fig Parrots

In the 5 species of fig parrot (Genus Opopsitta and Psittaculirostris) we find some of the most colorful of all Psittacines, all of which need much attention in terms of captive breeding.  Several, including the gorgeous Edward’s fig parrot, are kept in captivity, but in none is reproduction considered routine.  However, their small size suits them well to experienced aviculturists who are looking to become involved an important conservation effort, and interest is gradually increasing.

Description and Range

Fig parrots are small, stocky, colorful birds limited in distribution to New Guinea, northeast Australia and some nearby islands.

They have unusually large, broad bills, the upper mandible of which is distinctively notched.  All are considered threatened in the wild.  Despite this, they are under-represented in both zoo (I worked with only a very few during my long career) and private collections.

Captive Husbandry

Fig parrots have bred in both large indoor cages and outdoor aviaries.

Much has been learned about their husbandry in recent years, with the need for Vitamin K supplementation being an important discovery.  Most require a wide variety of fruits, especially figs, but lorikeet nectar mixes show great promise as a dietary staple.  Fig parrots take a bit of seed as well, but such should be withheld from breeding adults as it tends to clog the chicks’ crops.

Fig parrots housed in outdoor aviaries have the charming habit of bathing by sliding down large, wet leaves.

Further Reading

You can read about the Australia Zoo’s effort to help the critically endangered Coxen’s fig parrot at http://www.steveirwinmemorialfund.net/our-animals/animal-diaries/index.php?department=01&month=december&year=2005.



Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Tomfriedel

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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