Most of us imagine parrots to be birds that are colorful with hues of green, blue, and red. But there are a variety of parrots, 393 different species. Beautiful sulphur-crested cockatoos, and bronze-winged parrots seem to add to the splendor and uniqueness of these birds. Their intelligence and beauty never seems to amaze us. But there is a type of parrot most of us are unaware of – the Pesquet’s parrot, or more commonly known as the Dracula parrot.
The name Dracula definitely brings a chill down our spines. It connotes a blood-sucking monster we grew up fearing. So why are these parrots called Dracula parrots? They are easily recognizable for their pitch-black beaks, black and grey chests, and strokes of bright red feathers. They are short tailed, and stretch to about 20 inches in length, and can weigh up to 800 grams. They are one of only 3 parrot species that have featherless faces (resembling a vulture). Also, they move by jumping, not like other parrots that climb from one branch to another. Females and males look similar, the only difference is that males have red patches behind their ears.
This parrot can only be found in New Guinea. It does not feed on blood as one would think, it feeds exclusively on figs. It is called the Dracula parrot due to its resemblance to the notorious vampire’s intimidating appearance. They also sound creepy, with a harsh and rasping growl, and a “drawn out scream” when in flight. Unfortunately, these parrots have been targeted by local poachers for their striking feathers, and combined with habitat loss, have driven the species to dangerously low numbers. They are classified as “vulnerable”, by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Currently, there are only about 50,000 mature parrots left, and their numbers are dwindling. If authorities don’t do anything about this, they soon may become extinct.