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Unlocking the Secrets of the Blue-naped Parrot: Behavior Breeding and Populations

Blue-naped Parrot: A Beautiful and Unique Bird

Bird enthusiasts around the world study and admire the Blue-naped Parrot or Tanygnathus lucionensis for its striking appearance and distinct plumage. This parrot species is popular among pet owners, but it also has a significant role in the wild as a pollinator and seed disperser.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the identification, plumage, and molts of the Blue-naped Parrot.


Field Identification

The Blue-naped Parrot is a medium-sized parrot that measures up to 34 cm in length and weighs around 300-425 g. Male and female Blue-naped Parrots are similar in appearance.

They have a green body with a blue nape and yellow underparts, which contrasts with the red undertail coverts. They also have a blue patch on their wings, which is visible in flight.

Their feet are grey, and their bill is a combination of grey and black.

Similar Species

The Blue-naped Parrot can be easily distinguished from other parrot species by its blue nape. Other species like the Blue-backed Parrot and the Yellow-backed Sunbird have similar body structures, but they lack the distinctive blue nape of the Blue-naped Parrot.


Juvenile Blue-naped Parrots have a duller plumage compared to adults; they have a greenish-brown body with a pale yellow underparts, and their nape is bluish-grey. The blue patch on their wings is not yet visible.

Adult Blue-naped Parrots have a strikingly beautiful plumage that sets them apart from other parrot species. They have a vibrant green body with a blue nape and yellow underparts that contrast with the red undertail coverts.

The wings and their primary feathers are blue, and they have a hint of red under their wings.


The Blue-naped Parrot undergoes two types of molts: the pre-basic molt and the pre-alternate molt. The pre-basic molt happens from the end of the breeding season to the beginning of the non-breeding season.

During this molt period, adult Blue-naped Parrots replace their feather with new ones. The parrots’ body feathers are replaced sequentially, starting from the head to the body, and then to the wings and tail.

The parrots finish molting in around 3-4 months. The pre-alternate molt happens from the beginning of the breeding season to the end of the breeding season.

During this molt period, adult Blue-naped Parrots replace their feathers with breeding feathers. The parrots’ body feathers are replaced sequentially, starting from the head to the body, and then to the wings, and tail.

The parrots finish molting in around 4-5 months.


The Blue-naped Parrot is a beautiful and unique bird species that has captured the hearts of people around the world. With its stunning plumage and distinct blue nape, it is easy to identify this parrot species.

Understanding its molts is also crucial in managing Blue-naped Parrot populations in the wild. We hope this article has been informative and has helped you appreciate the beauty of the Blue-naped Parrot.

Systematics History of the Blue-naped Parrot

The Blue-naped Parrot, or Tanygnathus lucionensis, is part of the Psittacidae or true parrot family. This species belongs to the genus Tanygnathus, which includes three other parrot species namely the Red-vented, Great-billed, and Yellow-throated Parrots.

In this article, we will look at the systematics history of the Blue-naped Parrot, including its geographic variation, subspecies, and related species. We will also discuss the historical changes to its distribution.

Geographic Variation

The Blue-naped Parrot has a wide distribution range across Southeast Asia and the Philippines, and geographical variation among populations has been observed. These populations have developed slight differences in plumage coloration, size, and vocalizations.

In the Philippines, Blue-naped Parrots have brighter and more vibrant plumage compared to those found in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. They have a yellow-green body with a brighter blue nape and yellow breast.

This variation in plumage coloration between the Philippine and non-Philippine populations led to their partial separation into two subspecies.


The Blue-naped Parrot has two recognized subspeciesthe T. l.

lucionensis and the T. l.

hybridus. The T.

l. lucionensis is also known as the Philippine Blue-naped Parrot and is found exclusively in the Philippines.

The subspecies is larger in size and has a brighter plumage compared to the T. l.

hybridus. The T.

l. lucionensis parrot populations are generally found in forests from lowlands to mountain areas in the northern and central parts of the country, particularly in Luzon, Mindoro, Polillo Islands, and endemic Parrot Island.

The T. l.

hybridus, or the Greater Common Blue-naped Parrot, is distributed throughout the rest of the range, including Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Papua New Guinea. This subspecies is generally smaller in size and has a duller plumage compared to the T.

l. lucionensis.

The populations of this subspecies are found in open woodlands, savannas, and lowland forests.

Related Species

The Blue-naped Parrot is most closely related to the Red-vented and Great-billed Parrots within the Tanygnathus genus. All three species have similar morphological characteristics.

However, they have distinct differences in vocalizations and behavioral patterns. Blue-naped Parrots are often confused with the Blue-backed and Yellow-backed Parrots due to their similar physical features.

However, these two parrot species belong to a different genus, Psittacula.

Historical Changes to Distribution

Historical habitat loss and trapping have severely impacted the distribution of the Blue-naped Parrot. In the past, populations of the Blue-naped Parrot were reported to be abundant in most parts of Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

However, changes in forest cover and habitat encroachment have caused significant declines. Even today, the Philippine Blue-naped Parrot continues to face threats such as deforestation, illegal trade, and persecution.

The parrots’ populations have been decreasing, even in protected areas, due to habitat fragmentation and degradation, as well as the trapping for the wildlife trade and domestic pet trade. In 2018, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species listed the Philippine Blue-naped Parrot as Vulnerable due to the declining population caused by habitat loss and degradation.

The international trade of many wild-caught parrot species, including the Blue-naped Parrot, is banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).


The Blue-naped Parrot is a fascinating bird that has caught the eye of bird enthusiasts worldwide. The parrot’s systematics history has helped us understand the geographic variations in plumage and size in different populations, as well as the subspecies and related species.

The Blue-naped Parrot’s distribution range has undergone significant historical changes due to habitat loss, trapping, and deforestation. Conservation efforts must be made to protect this species and its habitat in the wild.


Habitat and Movements of the Blue-naped Parrot

The Blue-naped Parrot, also known as Tanygnathus lucionensis, is a colorful and intelligent bird species found in southeast Asia and the Philippines. Their preferred habitat is forested areas, and they are known to breed, roost, and forage in a variety of forest types.

This article expands on understanding the Blue-naped Parrot’s habitat and movements.


The Blue-naped Parrot can be found in a variety of forested habitats, including old-growth forests, secondary forests, and forest edges. However, this parrot species does not inhabit arid regions and treeless areas.

They prefer tropical or subtropical forested areas with a canopy structure that allows them to move and feed safely. They are present in lowlands and highlands, ranging from sea level to approximately 1,800 meters above sea level.

The Blue-naped Parrot is known to nest and roost in cavities found in tall trees, particularly in emergent trees in the forest canopy. They have also been observed in farmlands, but mainly for foraging purposes.

Recent studies suggest that deforestation and forest fragmentation have significantly affected the habitat range of the Blue-naped Parrot, leading to population declines. Therefore, protecting this species’ habitat from deforestation and unsustainable harvesting of forest products is crucial for their survival.

Movements and Migration

The Blue-naped Parrot is generally considered a non-migratory species, meaning they do not undertake long-distance seasonal migrations. However, they are known for their daily movements between their roosting sites and foraging areas.

During the day, Blue-naped Parrots forage in the forest canopy, and they may fly long distances to access preferred food sources. At night, they roost communally in tall trees, forming large flocks of up to several hundred individuals.

These flocks disperse at dawn, and each bird may travel considerable distances to reach their feeding areas. Studies of Blue-naped Parrots using radio telemetry have shown that some individuals move relatively long distances over several months.

These movements are likely associated with the availability of ripe fruits in different forested areas and changes in environmental conditions. In the Philippines, a study showed that Blue-naped Parrots were more active and travelled further distances during the breeding season because the birds focused heavily on foraging activities.

The birds travelled shorter distances during non-breeding periods. The study highlighted that the birds’ movements were influenced by food availability and seasonal changes.

The Blue-naped Parrot has a relatively small home range compared to other parrot species, typically ranging from a few hundred hectares to 1,000 hectares. These ranges may vary depending on the availability of food and the quality of the habitat.


The Blue-naped Parrot is an intelligent and colorful bird species that plays an essential role in many ecosystems. Their preferred habitat is forested areas, and they are known to move between their roosting sites and foraging areas during the day.

While they’re considered a non-migratory species, they may undertake movements over long distances in search of ripe fruits and other preferred food sources. Protecting their habitat is crucial to ensure the survival of this species, and understanding their movements can help plan conservation strategies to manage the species effectively.

Diet and Foraging

Behavior of the Blue-naped Parrot

The Blue-naped Parrot or Tanygnathus lucionensis is a medium-sized parrot that feeds primarily on fruits, seeds, and insects. In this article, we will explore the diet, feeding behavior, and metabolism of the Blue-naped Parrot.



The Blue-naped Parrot is an active forager that feeds mainly on fruits, seeds, and other plant materials. They search for fruits and other food items in the canopy and understory, using their strong beak to crack open seeds and break off hard fruit rinds.

They consume a wide range of fruits, including figs, papayas, bananas, and berries.

Blue-naped Parrots are also known to consume crop plants, including corn, guava, and mango.

They also feed on agricultural pests such as caterpillars and termites, making them useful to farmers by acting as natural pest control agents.


The Blue-naped Parrot’s diet varies depending on food availability and seasonal changes. Studies show that during the breeding season, Blue-naped Parrots consume more fruits and nectar compared to the non-breeding period when their diet is more diverse.

Blue-naped Parrots are known to supplement their diet with grit and charcoal. Grit helps aid in the parrots’ digestion by grinding up food in the gizzard, while charcoal absorbs toxins and helps regulate digestion.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Blue-naped Parrot has a unique metabolism that allows it to regulate its body temperature. They maintain their body temperature within an optimal range through external mechanisms such as wing flapping, panting, and holding their wings slightly open.

These activities increase the air’s flow over the undesides of the parrots’ wings, allowing them to dissipate heat. Blue-naped Parrots also have adaptations in their respiratory system that allow for efficient gas exchange.

This helps dissipate heat as well as maximize oxygen intake during flight.

Sounds and Vocal

Behavior of the Blue-naped Parrot


The Blue-naped Parrot is known for its loud and distinctive calls. They produce a variety of sounds that are essential to communication, mating, territorial defense, and social interactions.

The most common call of the Blue-naped Parrot is a loud and harsh screech, used by individuals as a means of communication and to maintain contact with flock members. It is believed that this call also helps to identify individuals within a flock.

Blue-naped Parrots are also known to produce whistles, chirps, and other calls that may vary depending on the context of their communication. These calls are essential to courtship and mating rituals, and it is believed that they help pair-bonding between mates.

Several studies have shown that the Blue-naped Parrot has the ability to mimic human speech, although this is relatively uncommon in the wild. They can repeat words, phrases, and sounds and are sometimes kept as pets due to their ability to mimic human conversation.


The Blue-naped Parrot is a unique bird species with a diverse diet and fascinating feeding behavior. They consume a variety of fruits, seeds, and insects, and play an essential role in natural pest control.

The Blue-naped Parrot has a metabolism adapted to regulate its body temperature through panting, wing flapping, and other mechanisms. Their communication through calls and vocalizations is also fascinating and helps them to maintain social bonds, courtship, and mating rituals.

The study of the Blue-naped Parrot’s behavior and biology provides us with insights into the importance of these enigmatic birds and their place in the ecosystem.


Breeding, Demography, and Populations of the Blue-naped Parrot

The Blue-naped Parrot, or Tanygnathus lucionensis, is a parrot species found in Southeast Asia and the Philippines. This article discusses the behavior, breeding, and populations of the Blue-naped Parrot.


Locomotion: The Blue-naped Parrot’s locomotion includes walking, running, and hopping on branches and vines. They are also capable of flying, using their powerful wings to travel between feeding and roosting sites.

Self Maintenance: The Blue-naped Parrot is known for its active preening behavior, which is essential to their grooming and self-maintenance. They spread oil from their preen gland across their feathers to keep their plumage clean and in optimal condition.


Behavior: The Blue-naped Parrot has agonistic behavior where they show aggression to other birds during feeding and breeding times. Agonistic behavior is also evident when parrots interact over nesting or roosting sites.


Behavior: Blue-naped Parrots are monogamous and pair for life, displaying mutual grooming behaviors and vocalizations as part of their bonding. The pair share the responsibilities of breeding, nest construction, and nurturing of their offspring.


The Blue-naped Parrot’s breeding season in the Philippines is November to April and other parts of their range is generally from January to June. They nest in tree cavities, and both male and female Blue-naped Parrots participate in digging a hole into a tree using their beaks.

The female lays 2-3 white eggs, which are incubated by both adults for around 23-24 days. The nestling period is around 50-60 days, with the chicks being fed by both adults masticated fruits and insects.

Demography and Populations

The Blue-naped Parrot’s population size is currently unknown, but it is believed to be declining due to habitat loss, hunting, and the illegal pet trade. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Blue-naped Parrot as “Vulnerable” due to habitat loss and degradation, as well as hunting for food and the pet trade.

In the Philippines, the species is listed as “Endangered” due to rapid habitat loss and uncontrolled trapping for trade. Many parrots are trapped and taken from their wild habitat to be sold on the illegal pet trade market or consumed as a delicacy food.

Conservation efforts are underway to raise awareness about the importance of the Blue-naped Parrot and their habitat. These efforts include enacting laws to protect the parrots from hunting and trade, habitat protection initiatives, and promoting the parrots’ sustainable use in eco-tourism and agriculture.

Such conservation efforts will help ensure the survival of the species and preserve its important role in the ecosystem.


The Blue-naped Parrot is a fascinating bird species that plays an essential role in forested habitats with its foraging, pollination, and seed dispersal behaviors. The parrot species display unique behaviors such as agonistic, sexual, grooming and preening of plumage as a vital part of its life.

The breeding season is around January

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