Parrots of Hawaii

Hawaiian gifts

The Hawaiian Islands seems like a likely environment for parrots due to its lush rainforest environment. However, none of Hawaii's parrot species are native to the islands. All of Hawaii's parrots were introduced to the islands and are feral species, or wild animals that were historically domesticated. Hawaii has a handful of parrots and parakeets -- smaller birds in the True Parrot family of birds -- with substantial populations.

Red-Crowned Parrot

The red-crowned parrot (Amazona viridigenalis), or green-cheeked parrot, is native to eastern Mexico, but pet owners introduced this species to Hawaii. In its native area, red-crowned parrots are endangered due to habitat loss and the pet trade. Feral red-crowned parrot populations are a concern in Hawaii since they are infesting fruit crops and native plants. Red-crowned parrots receive their name from the red plumage on the top of their heads. Other regions where red-crowned parrots are feral include Southern California, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Red-Masked Parakeet

Also known as Aratinga erythrogenys, red-masked parakeets have red feathers covering their entire head, while the rest of their body has green plumage. In Hawaii, these birds live on Hawaii island and Oahu -- on the Diamondhead peak. The first feral red-masked parakeets appeared on the Oahu and Hawaii islands due to domestic birds that escaped from captivity in the late 1980s. Wildlife researcher Nicholas Kalodimos says red-masked parakeets have not had a negative impact on the environment as of May 2009.

Rose-Ringed Parakeet

Native to Central Africa's rainforests, the rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri) was introduced to Hawaii in great numbers during the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Some rose-ringed parakeets were brought to Honolulu in the '30s, according to the Bishop Museum. Rose-ringed parakeets live on three of the Hawaiian Islands -- Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai -- at the date of publication. The largest population of rose-ringed parakeets are on Oahu at 500 to 1,000 birds. Rose-ringed parakeets have entirely green plumage on their bodies, but their beaks are scarlet red.

Mitred Conure

Mitred conures (Aratinga mitrata), or mitred parakeets, have dark green plumage with red feathers spread intermittently all over their bodies and wings. These birds are native to western and southern South American countries such as Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Mitred conures live at elevated heights of up to 11,000 feet, but these birds also live in grasslands and forests. Pet traders brought this bird to Hawaii in the 20th century; due to the pet trade, mitred conures are threatened in their native range. In Hawaii, mitred conures live on the Maui and Hawaii islands.

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