Almost as if from the world of fantasy, the Dracula Parrot (also known as Pesquets parrot or the Vulturine parrot) originates from the foothills and lower mountain ranges of Papua New Guinea.
Measuring from its beak to tip of its tale, this fascinating creature can grow to be almost the size of a small child and although the body shape is parrot; the head is vulture!
When fully grown this strange creature can grow up to nearly a meter and boasts gloriously bright scarlet plumage that stands out against its shadowy grey chest, back and tail.
So why call it a Dracula parrot? Well there are a few reasons this magnificent bird has been given this name apart from its rather disturbing call! Experts in the field (parrots.org) have described it as almost a ‘harsh and rasping’ to ‘growling’ sound.
Imagine this call, drawn out as a scream in full flight – a bit disturbing perhaps…?
The feeding habits of this parrot consist almost exclusively of a few types of figs placing it in a category of a highly specific frugivore. Another interesting fact is that this parrots face is completely free of feathers, simply for a reason of them not becoming dishevelled and tangled with the pulp from the fruit it feeds on. It is one of only 3 parrots that have this interesting feature. Nature is so clever!
Sadly, this parrot is on the red list of being nearly an endangered species and it is believed that there are presently only between 20 000 to 49 000 existing. Hunting for feathers of all birds has increased substantially with human population growth, but with this parrot being mainly found in areas with low human population density due to rough terrain, let’s hope its’ numbers can increase as it is clear the further away from humans they are, the better these creatures thrive.
In closing, the importance of creating awareness of all creatures no matter how odd they look, and for those still to be discovered for future generations, is of vital importance for all humanity to take heed.