Endemic birds
Endemic bird

Layard’s Parakeet Psitacula calthropae
(Emerald-collared Parakeet)


Sinhalese - Alu Girawa
Tamil       - Killi

Layard’s Parakeet

Smaller than a Common Mynah, but with a longer tail, this lovely parakeet is easily recognized by its lavender-grey head and mantle, broad emerald green collar and deep cobalt blue tail. The male has a scarlet red beak while that of the female is black.Young of both sexes are green all over with a darker head. Their beaks are orange-red in colour initially.

The Layard’s Parakeet is a bird of forest and well wooded areas. It is not uncommon in suitable habitat in the wet low country and the hills up to about 1700 metres. It is rather local in the dry zone but occurs in forested areas such as Ritigala and Wasgomuwa National Park and the eastern foothills. The species generally keeps to the upper and mid storey levels of foliage and is rarely destructive to paddy like the other parakeets. It moves about in pairs or small flocks. The call is a harsh kee-kee-kee, rather overpowering when heard at close quarters. In flight, an aak, ak-ak call is often uttered. This call combined with the presence of a shorter tail than the other parakeets’ makes it easy to identify in flight. The bird is very adept at flying at high speed between trees avoiding them. The food consists of fruit, seed, buds and other leafy matter. The plumage camouflages the bird so much that a whole flock may be feeding in a well foliaged tree unnoticed until calls are uttered.

The breeding season is from about January to May with a secondary season from July to September. The eggs are laid in a natural cavity or a disused nest of a barbet or woodpecker, generally high up in a tree. Two to three white eggs are laid. Both sexes share incubation duties and feed the young.


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