Species: Mauritius parakeet (Psittacula eques)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The Mauritius parakeet was considered the most endangered bird in the world in the 1980s.
The Mauritius parakeet is a striking bright emerald-green, medium-sized parakeet. Relying entirely on native fauna for food and nesting sites, Mauritius parakeets spend most of their time in the canopy and nest high up in native trees. They feed on fruit, buds, shoots, leaves and flowers of native plant species
Previously found on both Mauritius and Reunion Islands, the Mauritius parakeet can now only be found on a small area of Mauritius. Much of the native habitat has been destroyed, and the remaining areas are small and vulnerable to storm damage. Introduced predators such as the crab-eating macaque and black rat also threaten this species.
In 1986, the Mauritius parakeet was on the brink of extinction with only 3 females known to survive in the wild. Conservation efforts to protect areas of remaining habitat resulted in the establishment of the first national park in Mauritius, the Black River National Park. Supplementing their diet, providing nesting sites, and reintroducing captive-reared birds has all helped to boost numbers. As a result of this concerted conservation effort, the population has steadily increased since the 1980s, with an estimated 343 wild birds at the end of 2007.
Find out more about the Mauritius parakeet on the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) website.
Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Researcher