Our planet has a diverse world of parrots. With over 400 different species, parrots never fail to amaze us with their beauty and intelligence -- from sulfur-crested cockatoos to bronze-winged parrots. When we think of parrots, we usually imagine them as green, red, or blue-colored birds. But, there’s this type of parrot that’s dominated by the color black: the Pesquet’s parrot.
The Pesquet’s parrot, also known as Dracula parrot, is predominantly found in Papua New Guinea. These birds appear more like vultures than parrots, with their easily recognized black and grey chests, pitch-black beaks, and strokes of bright red feathers. They are short-tailed and stretch to nearly 50 cm (20 in) in length and weigh around 680–800 g (24–28 oz). Males and females look quite the same. The only difference is that males have red patches behind their ears.
The Dracula parrot is one of only three parrots to have featherless faces. The Australian Geographic report stated that they lost their facial feathers due to its sticky fruits -- just as vultures lost the feathers on their face beak to adapt to feeding on bloody carcasses. However, just like many species on Earth, their numbers are dwindling. They are hunted for their feathers, which are used for ceremonial dresses and meat and cage bird trade.
According to Unilad, a British Internet media company and website owned by LADbible Group that provides social news and entertainment, the International Union for Conservation of Natures’ Red List labeled Dracula parrots as “Vulnerable.” Previous reports showed that there has been a ‘moderately rapid decline’ of their population over the past 27 years.
“While this species is under significant hunting pressure for feathers, and to a lesser extent trade and meat, this varies geographically and much of its range is away from human populations. Hunting for feathers has increased with population growth. It has been extirpated from large areas, especially in Papua New Guinea,” the IUCN said.