Lord derby's parakeet

Psittacula derbiana

A Chinese parakeet at Hellabrunn Zoo sits on a branch. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Near threatened
  • Family
    True parrots (Psittacidae)
  • Weight
    320 g
  • Habitat
    Mountain forests up to 4.000 m altitude

Flamboyant courtship ritual

Adult male and female Lord Derby’s parakeets can easily be distinguished by their beaks – males have a bright red beak, while females have an all-black beak. During the mating season, the males go to great lengths to impress the females. The courtship ritual includes fanning out their tail feathers, prancing, head-bobbing and dilating their pupils.

A Lord Derby's parakeet is sitting with its back to the camera, but its head is turned towards the camera.

Never alone

Lord Derby’s parakeets are excellent parents – both the female and male participate in raising their young. The female does not leave the clutch during the breeding season and is fed by the male until the chicks are a few days old. Then both take turns in feeding the young. Outside the breeding season, they form mediumsized flocks that forage and roost together.

In the past, deforestation was the main reason for the slight decline in population, today it is the pet trade.