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Monday, January 14, 2013

The Blue Parrot Returns!

Just like Batman, after ten years, Bonaire’s elusive blue parrot has returned!  Saturday provided the first sighting of this rare blue lora, as parrots are called in Papiamentu.

To provide some history, it was back in early 2003 when sightings of the first blue parrot were witnessed, mostly centered around the north Kralendijk/Hato area.  Overnight, this rare bird became a media sensation, as all on Bonaire tried to catch a glimpse of it.  Sightings were relatively frequent, and then suddenly stopped, leading to theories that possibly the bird was captured for private enjoyment.  The blue parrot was never seen again.

However, it was an exciting discovery to see another blue parrot this past weekend!  It is not known if this is the same individual (parrots can have a long life expectancy), or if a similar gene mutation occurred providing the same effect.  Both blue parrots have blue bodies and white heads, while the normal yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot (Amazona barbadensis) has a green body with a yellow head.  This reporter theorizes that perhaps the gene providing the yellow coloration is missing, since, in color mixing, when yellow is removed from green, blue is the resulting color, and the lack of color on the head supports this hypothesis.

The location of this individual will remain secret, so that it may enjoy a long life on Bonaire, living in its natural habitat.  (Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter, images courtesy of Rolando Marin)

Update, January 16, 2013: Echo writes on their Facebook page:  “Another blue Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot on Bonaire. We’d been keeping the existence of the incredible parrot quiet for “his” own safety. The last blue parrot was captured by poachers and this is a different bird. The Echo team have had the privilege of seeing him on several occasions while out in the field. We’ve heard and seen him begging and being fed by his green parents, confirming he is a chick from 2012.”

Posted by Susan Davis on January 14, 2013 at 1:05pm AST
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