Brown-headed Parrot, Limpopo, South Africa

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Brown-headed Parrots Brown-headed Parrots1The Brown-headed Parrot (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus) is a South-eastern African Parrot. The general plumage colour is green, indeed Sinclair et al. describe the species as “the greenest parrot of the sub-region”. The under wing coverts are bright yellow, although the extent of this is variable. It is from this yellow that the specific name derives, kryptos being Greek for hidden or concealed and xanthos meaning yellow. Forshaw (1989) maintains that the underparts and lower back are paler green, as is the margins of the feathers on the underparts, with this colouration becoming more pronounced towards the vent and thighs. The rump is very bright, almost metallic green. The neck is grey-brown merging to brown on the head but merging to greenish on the mantle. On some individuals some random yellow feathers are visible of the head, neck and wings. Why these occur is unknown but it has been proposed that these may result from over-vigorous preening by parents. The tail is edged olive-brown and tipped green. The iris is greenish yellow (Maclean 1993) or yellow (Forshaw 1989) and the legs and feet are blackish grey. The bill is dark, almost black above, merging to whitish below. The immature is always described as “duller than the adult and yellowish below” (for example, Maclean 1993). The flight is described as “fast and direct”

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