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This bird was about 13 inches long, and weighed about 10 ounces. It was mostly green in color, with a bright yellow head and orange forehead and face. Males were slightly larger than the females, otherwise both sexes were similar.
Distribution and Habitat
The only parrot species indigenous to the United States, the Carolina Parakeet once ranged from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico. It lived in vast flocks in old forests along rivers, and occasionally on farmland.
Like most other parrot species, this bird fed on seeds, flower buds, and insects. Its habit of ripping unripened fruit off trees in order to get at the seeds made it very unpopular amongst orchard owners. Farmers also disliked the bird because of its penchant for grain crops.
A very social bird, Carolina parakeets lived in vast flocks of up to 1,000 birds, and it was not uncommon to find up to 30 birds sharing one nest.
Breeding took place in the springtime. Two to five light greenish-white eggs were laid in a nest in a tree cavity, and were incubated by the female for 23 days. It is believed that both parents cared for the chicks, which fledged at 18 or 19 days.
Farmers hunted Carolina parakeets as pests. And, since these birds often stayed in huge flocks even after several individuals had been killed, it was often easy for a hunter to kill dozens at a time. The hat industry, which valued the birds' colorful feathers, also contributed to the Carolina parakeet's decline, as did the pet trade market. The final contributing factor was the widespread destruction of the bird's habitat as more and more humans moved into its traditional range. The last wild Carolina parakeet was killed in Okeechobee County, Florida, in 1904; the last captive specimen died at the Cincinnati Zoo on February 21, 1918.
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>> Zoology >> Birds >> Order Psittaciformes
This page was last updated on December 20, 2017.