|Vernal Hanging Parrot|
How many parrots are there in India? Any guess? But, before that, what is the difference between a parrot and a parakeet? Most of us will relate the parakeets with a small bird while the parrot will be bigger. But, the best way to identify a parrot from a parakeet would be its tail. The parrot has got a square tail, while the parakeet will be having a graduated tail. Incidentally, there is only parrot in India – the vernal hanging parrot (Loriculus vernalis).
|Vernal Hanging Parrot male|
Almost the size of a house sparrow, these resident birds are strictly arborial. The green colour of this tiny bird makes it pretty difficult to locate. The male bird has a crimson patch on the rump and a bluish patch on the throat. The females haven’t got thse patches. They are very fond of nectar, flowers and small fruits. Some times, they ransack the container placed on top o f the coconut trees for collecting the sweet liquid which becomes the toddy afterwards. After quenching the thirst, it is usual that the culprits fall into the container. The birds seem to flock on Butea monosperma (plasu or flame of the forest) to drink nectar. Coconut flowers are also their much favoured diet.
|Vernal Hanging Parrot female|
They usually make sound likes ‘tiriri tiriri’ while flying. Once they settle on a tree, generally they walk along the stem and search for the food. Its always fun to watch these gymansts of nature in action.
Small cavities of trees are favoured by the bird to build nests. It is said that they use to tear the leaves and insert them on their wings to carry them towards the nest to decorate. This stunning beauty has the unique ability to sleep upside down hanging from a favourable branch.
The best time to watch and photograph these birds should be March to June. On my numerous visits to the Ponmudi hills, I was blessed with some real good opportunities. Once, they allowed me as near as about a couple of meters.