Greater vasa parrot

Coracopsis vasa

A greater vasa parrot sits on branches on which green berries can be seen. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Least concern
  • Family
    True parrots (Psittacidae)
  • Weight
    up to 500 g
  • Habitat
    Dry deciduous forests

Unique features

Like all birds, the greater vasa parrot has only one opening for the digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts, which is known as a “cloaca.” However, the greater vasa is unique among parrot species for the male’s ability to turn its cloaca outwards to form a hemi-penis. When mating, the male inserts his cloaca into the female cloacal area. The act of love sometimes only last a few seconds, but often up to half an hour.

The picture shows a greater vasa parrot landing on a branch. His wings are spread wide above his head.

Who’s the daddy?

Female greater vasa parrots are 25 % larger than the males and rule the roost. They often mate with several males and may incubate eggs from dif- ferent fathers at the same time. During the short incuba- tion period, which lasts only 18 days, the male provides the female with food, bringing fruits, berries, nuts and seeds to her nest.

During the breeding season, the female loses her head feathers and the exposed skin turns yellow-orange.