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Dear Parrots magazine,

Plumage colours

I read with great interest in the September issue about Eclectus plumage and why the male and female have completely different colours. But it’s not just about Eclectus, as many other parrots in other countries are extremely colourful and in some cases it’s difficult to understand why, for example, in South America there are several different species that live in the same area as each other, but have a completely different colourings, and there seems to be no logical reason for it. Also, many other non-parrot like birds have completely different and contrasting plumage so not just confined to parrots. I suppose this is a subject that baffles many scientists and naturalists as well as the general public.

The article was indeed fascinating and highlighted some possible solutions to this enigma, but it doesn’t always provide a substantive reason why some male and female colours are completely different. I understand that in some birds, for example, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, that the female has a different colour eye to the male when mature, that I can understand, but where there are distinct major contrasting colours remains a mystery.
I do hope that there will be other articles on the plumage colour of parrots as it is such an intriguing subject?

Melanie Armstrong, by email

 


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