The Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides) or the Blue-winged parakeet is a beautiful parakeet endemic to the Western Ghats. Normally, you can see this bird only where there is some green cover. The call is a harsher ‘kreek kreek’ sound than a rose-ringed parakeet. They often come in flocks and their screeches can be heard from some distance. More often, these garrulous birds prefer the canopy. Like other parakeets, these birds also nest in holes of tall trees. Though these birds are protected by law, illegal pet trade is still rampant.
|Malabar Parakeet male|
It is quite easy to distinguish between the male and female of this species. The male will be having the crimson red beak, while the female will be having a black one.
|Malabar Parakeet female|
I’ve been to so many jungles and forests in Kerala and I’ve seen this bird almost everywhere. Except a couple of occasions, they kept a distance from the humans. The most awaited moment came for me when I got a chance to visit Pamba, the base camp for the famous pilgrimage centre Sabarimala. It was off-season, and the Vadasserikkara – Pamba stretch devoid of any din and buzzle was a marvel. I was told that the elephants were usual on the road. And so, was driving with eyes wide open. When we reached Pamba, it was raining buckets. Decided to use the comforts offered by Unni sir’s brother, who was the priest there. Even though it was drizzling, I was having my one eye towards the shrubs nearby. Some tailor birds and robins were showing all kinds of gimmicks and it was real fun. And then, I found some parakeets landing over a shrub with their blue patches shining even in that shadows. Only a photographer knows the dilemma at that time. You are witnessing a dream sight and you cannot take your camera out !!! Couldn’t wait long. Took and umbrella, slowly got near them and took some shots. May be because of my proximity, the birds took off and sat on an isolated shrub. It was just about perfect for my camera.