LoraKim is now in Honduras and Guatemala for the month of October and then off to Guyana for much of November. While she is gone, we will be focusing on her thoughts (and mine) on why parrots are so much more than beautiful (even as we admire their physical beauty!).
Let’s talk, today, about the third bird on LoraKim Joyner’s list of the most beautiful parrots, which is the yellow-faced parrot (I’ve included the full list at the end of this blog in case you haven’t seen it already and are curious).
This species is found in South America, including in the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, and, where One Earth Conservation works, Paraguay. The conservation status of the yellow-faced parrot is “Near Threatened,” mostly due to habitat loss. Theirs is an unusual habitat, as the birds nest in hollow termitaria (termite nests consisting of a mound of earth), and many ranches in areas where the birds live clear away the termitaria to plant pasture grass for cattle. Some of these parrots are also being taken for the illegal wildlife trade, which further decreases their numbers in the wild.
One Earth Conservation is working closely with local people in Paraguay to protect the yellow-faced parrots who live there, as well as their nests, and to track their numbers. This includes some ranch owners who have become concerned about the decreasing numbers of parrots and who want to help.
Here’s what LoraKim has to say about the yellow-faced parrot, “I have described how appreciating beauty comes about from experiencing birds directly and empathizing with them over a long time. It also arises from the commitment to conserve them that deepens appreciation, respect, and wonder of the birds, and the beautiful perseverance of the teams that work together to save these birds. Beauty, and its companion, wonder and awe, also come about because of a bird’s rarity or uniqueness. This species strikes me as beautiful because I know so little about it and it seems strange to me. They nest in termitaria in the ground, they have natural color variations in the wild with striking amounts of yellow and red on their abdomen, and they lose feathers around their nares. They also seem to be migratory in part, highly sociable as they move about in flocks, and mix with A. aestiva in these flocks, and with them and A. amazonica in roost sites. Just this past week I saw a pair of them mating low in a tree as they uttered unseemly calls for any parrot, and then watched as the female flew to the termitaria with a cow grazing just a few meters away, and slowly back in, tail-first, into her termitaria nest for the night. What is more beautiful than that?”