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Discover the Fascinating World of the Double-Eyed Fig-Parrot: Systematics Behavior and Conservation

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, also known as the Two-eyed Fig-Parrot, is a brightly colored bird species that is native to most parts of Australia and some parts of Indonesia. It is a small parrot species that is mostly known for its striking coloration and the distinctive eye patches that give it its name.

Today, we will take a closer look at the identification, plumages, and molts of this fascinating bird species.

Identification

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is a small parrot that measures just 15-16 cm in length. It has a stocky build and a short, stubby tail that is rounded at the end.

The bird’s most distinctive feature is its eye patches, which are bright red in color and surrounded by small white feathers. Other notable physical characteristics of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot include its green back and wings, yellow collar, chestnut red underparts, and pale blue rump.

Males and females have similar plumage, although males have a slightly brighter red eye patch. Field

Identification

In the field, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot can be easily identified by its small size, bright coloration, and eye patches.

Its call, which is a series of high-pitched squawks, is also quite distinctive. The bird is most commonly found in forested areas, especially those with fig trees, which provide it with food and shelter.

Similar Species

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is often mistaken for other small parrot species, such as the Red-bellied Parrot and the Australian King-Parrot. However, both of these species have different coloration and lack the distinctive eye patches of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot.

It is important to observe the bird’s eye patches when identifying it, as this is the most reliable feature for differentiation.

Plumages

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has only one plumage variation, with adult birds displaying the same coloration all year round. The juvenile plumage is similar to that of adults but with a duller coloration and less distinct markings.

Molts

The molting cycle of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is not well-documented, but it is believed to molt once or twice a year. During the molt, the bird may lose some of its coloration, making it more difficult to identify in the field.

The timing of molts is influenced by factors such as climate, food availability, and breeding cycles. In conclusion, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is an interesting and unique bird species that is easily identified by its distinctive eye patches and bright coloration.

Understanding its identification, plumages, and molts can greatly enhance our appreciation and enjoyment of this fascinating bird. Whether you are a seasoned birdwatcher or simply a curious nature lover, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is definitely a species to look out for.

Systematics History

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, also referred to as the Two-eyed Fig-Parrot, is a member of the family Psittaculidae. The genus name for this species was first introduced by John Gould in 1840, who described it as Cyclopsitta diophthalma.

The bird also goes by the scientific names Nymphicus diophthalma and Psittacula diophthalma.

Geographic Variation

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot shows some geographic variation across its range, though the differences in appearance between subspecies are minor. One notable difference is the size of birds in different regions.

Those in northernmost Australia are slightly larger than those in the southernmost part of the range.

Subspecies

There are five recognized subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, which have some slight differences in plumage and distribution. These subspecies include:

– Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni: Found in the Aru Islands (Indonesia), this subspecies has a bluer rump than other subspecies.

– Cyclopsitta diophthalma macleayana: Found in eastern Australia from Cape York to Rockhampton, this subspecies has a yellowish-green coloration on the cheeks and greenish-yellow underparts. – Cyclopsitta diophthalma marshalli: Endemic to the Atherton Tablelands (northern Queensland), this subspecies is slightly larger and darker than other subspecies.

– Cyclopsitta diophthalma melanogenia: Found in northeastern Queensland, this subspecies has a darker green body than other subspecies. – Cyclopsitta diophthalma diophthalma: Found in northern and central Australia, this is the nominate subspecies and the most widely distributed, covering an extensive area that includes the Kimberley region of western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory.

Related Species

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is closely related to other fig-parrot species and shares similarities in appearance, behavior, and habitat. These include the Plum-faced Parrot and the Red-browed Parrot, which are also found in Australia.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The distribution of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has changed considerably over time, largely due to habitat destruction and fragmentation. The species was once found in much larger numbers across a wider range of areas in Australia, including Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.

Changes to the landscape, including deforestation, land clearing, and urbanization, have had a significant impact on the bird’s population and habitat. In northern Queensland, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has experienced a decline in numbers due to the loss of forests and habitat fragmentation.

In some areas, remaining populations have been restricted to riparian forests that run along streams or rivers. In parts of western Australia, the species has also experienced a decline due to habitat alteration.

Logging, mining, and other forms of land development have had an impact on the bird’s preferred habitat and food sources. Conservation measures have been implemented to protect the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, including the establishment of protected areas and habitat restoration projects.

In Queensland, conservationists have worked to protect the species through breeding programs and habitat restoration initiatives. As a result of these efforts, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has recovered somewhat in some areas, although it remains a vulnerable species due to ongoing threats to its habitat.

Continued conservation measures will be needed to ensure the survival of this unique and important bird species. In conclusion, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is a fascinating bird species that inhabits much of Australia and parts of Indonesia.

The subspecies and geographic variation of this species provide a wealth of information about the bird’s evolution and diversity, while changes to the bird’s distribution highlight the ongoing challenges to conservation efforts. By understanding the systematics of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot and the historical changes to its distribution, we can better appreciate the importance of protecting this species for future generations.

Habitat

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is usually found in rainforests, wet sclerophyll forests, and mangroves. This species seems to prefer areas with high humidity, such as gullies, valleys, and near waterways.

It is most commonly found in areas where figs are abundant, which are an important part of its diet. Other types of fruit and flowers are also consumed by the bird.

In areas where habitat has been disturbed or fragmented, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has been known to use modified habitats, including eucalypt plantations, oil palm groves, and suburban gardens. However, these modified habitats are often seen as a suboptimal habitat for the bird.

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot usually nests in tree hollows or cavities, but settlements often provide alternative nesting sites in pipes and other man-made structures.

Movements and Migration

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is a resident bird, meaning that it does not migrate and remains within its defined range throughout the year. However, seasonal movements may occur within certain parts of its range, particularly in response to the availability of food.

During the autumn months, birds in the northern part of the range have been known to move into the southern part of their range in search of food. As the weather cools and the supply of fruit becomes less abundant in the northern regions, birds move south to exploit new food sources.

In general, the movements of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot are relatively short distances and are not large-scale compared to migratory birds, which can travel thousands of miles from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. This bird species is known for its territorial behavior, and birds tend to remain within their defined range throughout most of the year.

In recent years, there have been reports that birds from the northern parts of the range are moving further south than normal, as habitats in northern regions become more degraded. These birds are frequently sighted in areas such as the Atherton Tablelands, which is further south than their traditional range.

This shift in range could potentially indicate that the bird is adapting to changes in its environment, or it could be a temporary change due to habitat loss in the north. While the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is not known for its long-distance movements or migratory behavior, habitat loss and landscape transformation can limit the bird’s movements and dispersal abilities.

This is a growing concern for conservation management, as it could affect the bird’s abilities to adapt to a changing environment. In conclusion, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has a relatively small and defined range but can move short distances within its range in response to seasonal changes in food availability.

The bird’s movements and migration behavior are not large-scale compared to migratory birds, and it is considered a resident bird. Changes in habitat due to human activities are a major concern for conservation management, as it could limit the bird’s movements and ability to adapt to a changing environment.

By understanding the movements and habitat preferences of this species, we can take steps to protect and manage its habitat for future generations.

Diet and Foraging

Feeding

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is considered a frugivore and feeds primarily on fruits and berries, with about 80% of its diet consisting of figs. In rare cases, it has been known to consume flowers, nectar, and seeds.

The bird is well-adapted to feed on figs; it uses its beak to open the fruit and extracts the flesh using its tongue. The bird’s preference for figs varies slightly across its range, with different subspecies showing different preferences for different types of figs.

Some subspecies, such as those found in northern Queensland, feed almost exclusively on the fruit of the Moreton Bay Fig, while other subspecies, such as those found in Western Australia, feed mainly on the fruit of the Boab or “bottle” tree.

Diet

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot obtains much of its water from the fruits it consumes, but it also drinks from water sources such as streams and other bodies of water.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is an endothermic (warm-blooded) bird, which means it can regulate its body temperature internally. The bird’s metabolic rate is relatively high, which allows it to maintain a stable body temperature even in cold environments.

To maintain a stable body temperature, the bird has a high calorie requirement, which it meets through its frugivorous diet. The bird is well adapted to extract the maximum amount of energy from the fruit it consumes, making it an efficient feeder.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Vocalization

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has a range of calls, from high-pitched chirps to whistles. The bird also makes a distinctive “tsk-tsk” sound when it is alarmed or agitated.

The calls are used for communication between birds and to alert other birds in the flock to potential threats. The calls of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot are an important part of its behavioral repertoire.

During the breeding season, males may use more elaborate calls to attract females or to maintain territory boundaries. Calls may also be used to coordinate foraging or social behavior within a flock.

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has a unique vocal behavior in that it has a habit of calling when feeding, which is not common in other bird species. This behavior may be a way for birds to communicate about food availability and help coordinate foraging behavior within a flock.

The bird’s calls and vocal behavior are important for conservation management, as they can be used to identify the presence of the species in an area. By listening for the bird’s calls, researchers and conservationists can track population trends and estimate numbers of birds in different areas.

In conclusion, understanding the diet and foraging behavior of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot helps us appreciate the bird’s adaptation to its environment. Through its frugivorous diet, the bird obtains the necessary calories to maintain a high metabolic rate and a stable body temperature.

The bird’s vocal behavior is also important to conservation management, as it can be used to identify the bird’s presence in an area. By understanding the unique adaptations and behaviors of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, we can better appreciate the role it plays in the ecosystem and take steps to protect it for future generations.

Behavior

Locomotion

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is a skilled flier and is capable of agile movements such as hovering and rapid changes in direction. When not in flight, the bird may move about in the canopy or along branches in a hopping or walking motion.

Self Maintenance

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has a number of behaviors to help maintain its feathers and overall health. The bird will often engage in preening behavior, which involves cleaning, arranging, and oiling its feathers using its beak, tongue, and oil gland.

In addition to preening, the bird will also take dust or sand baths to help clean its plumage and remove excess oil. The bird may also engage in sun-bathing, which is believed to help regulate its body temperature and disinfect its feathers.

Agonistic Behavior

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot has a number of agonistic behaviors, which are related to competition for resources such as food, nesting sites, and breeding partners. These behaviors include aggressive displays such as raising crest feathers, puffing out feathers, and approaching other birds with a threatening posture.

The bird may also use vocalizations to communicate its intentions to other birds, such as calls to maintain territory boundaries or alert other birds to potential threats. Despite these aggressive displays, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is generally a social and gregarious bird, and flocks may consist of up to ten birds.

Sexual Behavior

During the breeding season, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot displays a number of sexual behaviors, including courtship displays and mate selection. Males may attract females with elaborate vocalizations, while females may choose a mate based on the quality of his nesting site or food availability.

The breeding behavior of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is strongly influenced by the availability of food and nesting sites. Fruits, particularly figs, are an important part of the bird’s diet, and the availability of these fruits can affect the bird’s reproductive success.

Similarly, the availability of nesting sites, such as tree hollows, can also affect breeding behavior.

Breeding

The breeding season for the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot varies depending on its geographic location. In northern Queensland, the breeding season can occur from September to November, while in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, breeding may occur from August to September.

Mating pairs will seek out a suitable nesting site, which is typically a tree hollow or a cavity in a tree. Once a nesting site has been found, the female will lay a clutch of two to four eggs, with an incubation period of around 20 days.

Both parents are involved in raising the offspring, with the male feeding the female while she incubates the eggs and both parents feeding and caring for the chicks once they have hatched. The young birds fledge after around six weeks, but may remain with their parents for several more weeks before becoming independent.

Demography and Populations

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is considered to be a vulnerable species due to a number of factors, including habitat fragmentation and loss, climate change, and the effects of introduced predators and competitors. Populations are typically small and isolated, making them vulnerable to stochastic events such as disease outbreaks or habitat destruction.

Conservation measures for the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot focus on habitat restoration, creation of protected areas, and reintroduction programs. Efforts to create habitat corridors and connect fragmented habitats may also help to increase the resilience of populations and allow for greater genetic diversity and gene flow.

In conclusion, understanding the behavior and breeding biology of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot can aid in the development of conservation strategies and management practices for this vulnerable species. By recognizing the role that behavior and breeding play in the survival of a species, we can take steps to protect and manage populations, ensuring the long-term survival of this unique and important bird species.

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is a fascinating bird species that is native to Australia and Indonesia. Understanding the bird’s systematics, movements, habitat preferences, diet, and behavior is crucial for conservation management and the protection of its populations.

Despite significant threats to its habitat and populations, measures such as habitat restoration, protected areas, and reintroduction programs are helping to ensure the long-term survival of this important bird species. By recognizing the

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