Welcome, dear readers, to another vibrant exploration into the colorful world of parrots. This time, we’re venturing into the somewhat mystical realm of purple parrots. Now, you may be thinking, “Purple parrots? Do they actually exist?” Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.
Are There Any Purple Parrots?
Parrots are indeed known for their spectacular rainbow of colors. However, a fully, deep purple parrot in the wild is something we have yet to discover. This absence is primarily due to how pigmentation works in parrot feathers. The color of a parrot’s plumage is determined by the pigments present and how they interact with light.
The blues and greens we often see in parrot species are a result of structural coloration, where the microscopic structure of the feather reflects certain wavelengths of light.
As for purple, while there are parrots that can appear purplish or have sections of purple on their plumage, these are typically variants of blues or reds that give a purple-like impression.
Many of these parrots, like the Violet-necked Lory, often have a blend of blue and red pigmentation that, under certain light conditions, appears purple. Others, like certain Lovebirds and Budgerigars, can develop purple hues due to selective breeding or mutations.
That being said, let’s move on to our list of ‘purple’ parrots. Remember, these birds may not be fully, deeply purple, but they certainly carry a royal air with their purplish hues or purple-dotted plumage.
- Scientific Name: Eos squamata
- Size: 12 inches
- Lifespan: Up to 30 years
- Where Found: Indonesia, specifically on the islands of Morotai, Halmahera, Bacan, and Obi
The Violet-necked Lory, a bird of vibrant beauty, adds a subtle hue of purple to our list of ‘purple’ parrots. This parrot sports a marvelous blend of violet on its neck, a feature that gifts it its distinctive name.
The rest of its body showcases an exciting array of colors. The primary plumage is red, complemented by a blue-black mantle and tail, an orange beak, and an almost entirely violet-blue crown.
Native to the Indonesian islands, the Violet-necked Lory is a sociable bird and an excellent flyer. Their diet mainly consists of fruit, seeds, and nectar. They have a fun-loving, playful nature, making them an exciting companion for parrot enthusiasts. However, they also have a loud, piercing call, which potential pet owners should be aware of before welcoming this beautiful bird into their home.
Did you know? These birds have a brush-tipped tongue that they use to extract nectar and pollen from flowers, contributing to the pollination process as they feed.
- Scientific Name: Melopsittacus undulatus
- Size: 6-8 inches
- Lifespan: 5-10 years in the wild, up to 15 years in captivity
- Where Found: Australia
Budgerigars, also known as budgies or parakeets, are small parrots originally from Australia. Known for their pleasant temperaments and high intellect, these birds are commonly kept as pets. Budgies have primarily green plumage in the wild, but selective breeding has led to a multitude of color mutations, including purple.
Purple budgies are usually the result of a blend of blue and violet pigmentation in their feathers, giving them a lovely lavender appearance. They exhibit this radiant purple hue throughout their chest and abdomen, contrasting nicely with their typically white and black-barred back and wings.
As pets, budgies are sociable, friendly, and relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for both experienced bird owners and those new to birdkeeping.
Did you know? Budgerigars have the unique ability to mimic human speech, which is a rare trait in the animal kingdom and one that has contributed to their popularity as pets.
Indian Ringneck Parakeets
- Scientific Name: Psittacula krameri
- Size: 16 inches including tail feathers
- Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
- Where Found: Originally from South Asia, but have since spread to other parts of the world
Indian Ringneck Parakeets, also referred to as Rose-ringed Parakeets, are medium-sized birds known for their striking appearance and intelligent nature. In the wild, they usually exhibit green plumage with a distinctive black and rose-colored neck ring, but selective breeding in captivity has given rise to a variety of color mutations, including a purplish hue.
The ‘purple’ variant of the Indian Ringneck is actually a deep violet, a color that pervades their entire body and gives them a regal appearance. This mutation is relatively rare, making violet Indian Ringneck Parakeets a coveted pet for bird enthusiasts. These parrots are known for their ability to mimic human speech and, with proper socialization and care, can become affectionate and loyal pets.
Did you know? Unlike many other birds, the Indian Ringneck Parakeet can learn to understand the context of the words they mimic, often using them appropriately in response to their owners’ actions or emotions.
- Scientific Name: Agapornis spp.
- Size: 5-7 inches
- Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
- Where Found: Africa
Lovebirds, small and affectionate parrots, derive their name from their strong pair bonds and the long periods they spend sitting together. Lovebirds are generally green in the wild, but, like Budgerigars, selective breeding has led to many color mutations, one of which appears purplish.
The purple or violet variant of lovebirds is primarily seen in the Peach-faced Lovebird species. This mutation results in a soft lavender color, which covers most of the bird’s body. These ‘purple’ lovebirds often have brighter colored wings, creating a stunning contrast.
These birds are known for their playful and loving personalities, making them popular pets. However, they do require a significant amount of social interaction, either with a human caretaker or a bird companion, to stay happy and healthy.
Did you know? Despite their small size, Lovebirds have a large personality. They are known for their playful antics and can even learn to mimic some human words or whistle tunes!
Female Eclectus Parrot
- Scientific Name: Eclectus roratus
- Size: 17-20 inches
- Lifespan: 30-50 years
- Where Found: Solomon Islands, New Guinea, northeastern Australia
The Eclectus Parrot is a unique species in many ways, one of which is its extreme sexual dimorphism – the males and females have strikingly different appearances. The males are predominantly green, while the females have an impressive mix of deep red and purplish-blue, which can appear quite purple under certain lighting.
The females’ plumage is primarily bright red, but they have a wide band of what looks like deep lavender or purplish-blue on their chests. This color, combined with their black beaks, creates a dramatic contrast.
Female Eclectus Parrots are known for their calm and gentle demeanor, although they can be quite assertive when they want to be. They make great pets, but their complex dietary needs, large size, and intelligence mean they require a dedicated caretaker.
Did you know? Female Eclectus Parrots have one of the longest incubation periods of any parrot species, at around 30 days. They’re also known to remain in the nest for a long time after the chicks hatch, something that’s quite unusual among parrot species.
- Scientific Name: Psittacula cyanocephala
- Size: 13 inches
- Lifespan: 15-20 years
- Where Found: Indian Subcontinent
The Plum-headed Parakeet, as the name suggests, is most known for its stunning ‘plum’-colored head. This feature is exclusive to the males; the females have grayish-blue heads. The male’s plum-colored head and neck, which in some lights can appear purple, paired with a green body, and a red patch on the wing, make this parrot one of the most colorful bird species.
In their natural habitat, Plum-headed Parakeets are found in flocks and prefer forested areas. They’re generally shy birds and are known to be quiet and calm, making them less disruptive than some other parrot species.
These parakeets are not common pets, but when hand-reared from a young age, they can develop a close bond with their human caretakers and can learn to mimic sounds and words.
Did you know? Plum-headed Parakeets are excellent flyers. In the wild, they often perform breathtaking aerial displays with their flocks, which can number in the hundreds!
- Scientific Name: Psittacula columboides
- Size: 38 – 42 cm (15 – 16.5 in)
- Lifespan: 20 – 25 years
- Where found: Southwestern India
The Malabar Parakeet, also known as the Blue-winged Parakeet, is a gorgeous bird native to the Western Ghats of India. It’s most notable for its striking plumage, which includes shades of green, turquoise, and a purplish-blue, giving it an almost royal appearance.
Male Malabar Parakeets showcase a charming bluish-grey hue on their head and neck, and their wings are vibrant blue, which can give a purplish impression under certain light conditions. The females, while less colorful, are still charming with their muted green and gray tones.
These parrots are typically found in moist deciduous forests and heavily wooded hill regions, where they feed primarily on seeds, fruits, flowers, and nectar. They have a high-pitched call that can be heard from a distance, making them easier to spot in their natural habitat.
Malabar Parakeets are known for their intelligence and sociable nature. In captivity, they can learn to mimic human speech and are capable of forming strong bonds with their caretakers.
Did you know? The male Malabar Parakeet has a longer tail than the female, making it easy to differentiate between the two. Males also have a more vibrant color palette, which enhances their appeal during the mating season.
What Makes Feathers Purple?
The color of a bird’s feathers comes from a combination of pigments and the structure of the feather itself. In the case of purple or purplish-looking feathers, the color usually results from a combination of blue structural color and red pigments.
The blue color is the result of the way light interacts with the microscopic structure of the feathers, scattering light in such a way that our eyes perceive it as blue.
When this combines with red pigments, it can create a range of colors from violet to purple. As for the genetics part, color mutations occur naturally and may be selected for propagation by breeders because of their visual appeal.
While there are few bird species with truly purple plumage, many birds can appear purplish under certain light conditions. Interestingly, many bird species that we consider purple, like our list’s parrots, can appear more blue or green under different lighting.
Having such striking and bright colors, including purple, might help birds in a variety of ways, from attracting mates to deterring rivals. The diversity of bird plumage color in the world is truly remarkable!
Our journey through the world of parrots and their multitude of colors ends here, with the intriguing and beautiful purple parrots. While it’s true that there aren’t fully purple parrots in the world, some parrots showcase a breathtaking array of purple hues, some subtle and some quite bold.
These wonderful creatures continue to amaze us with their beauty, intelligence, and charm. Remember that whether they’re blue, pink, yellow, white, or purple, parrots are more than just colorful creatures; they’re intelligent, emotional, and highly social animals that deserve our respect and protection. Keep this in mind the next time you marvel at their beautiful colors!