When we think of parrots, one of the first things that come to mind is their beautiful vivid plumage, which sets them apart from many species in the bird world. But in a seemingly endless array of color combinations, have you ever wondered if there are any purple parrots out there? Let’s find out.
- 1 Are there any purple parrot species in the world?
- 2 Light and magic: how we see color in the bird world
- 3 The kings and queens of parrots: the Hyacinth Macaw
- 4 A note on the Lear’s Macaw
- 5 The scarlet and purple female Eclectus parrot
- 6 A title fit for royalty: the Lilac-Crowned Amazon
- 7 Special mention: the Rainbow Lorikeet
- 8 Unique and uncommon gene mutations
- 9 What is the rarest parrot?
Are there any purple parrot species in the world?
The most well-known and almost entirely purple parrot species is the majestic and rare Hyacinth Macaw. Furthermore, there are other types of parrots that sport partial purple plumage, including the female Eclectus and the Lilac-Crowned Amazon. On occasion, specialist breeders may produce birds with specific gene mutations that give them a lilac appearance.
Light and magic: how we see color in the bird world
The microscopic design of bird feathers is an evolutionary marvel that gives the impression of different hues depending on the lighting conditions.
This allows avian species to camouflage, ward off potential predators, and attract prospective mates.
Think of it as you would light reflecting on prisms, with refraction and deflection warping our perception of precisely what we think we’re seeing.
For this reason, certain birds may appear more purple at times or blue or scarlet at others.
Irrespective, in the argument of if there are any purple parrots in the world, the candidates on our list undoubtedly fit the bill.
The kings and queens of parrots: the Hyacinth Macaw
Throughout history, purple has symbolized royalty, luxury, and all things majestic.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the largest flying parrot in the world is also almost entirely purple in color.
The Hyacinth Macaw, hailing from eastern South America, can reach up to 3 feet (1 meter) in length and weighs around 3.8 pounds (1.7 kilograms) at maturity. It has a lifespan of roughly 50 years.
In appearance, the Hyacinth Macaw is nothing short of breathtaking, covered from head to tail in blueish-violet feathers that are slightly lighter at the top.
Like most Macaws, this beauty is intelligent and able to mimic human speech to a certain degree, with close training and interaction.
They’re also incredibly social. However, they are often awarded the moniker of “gentle giants,” given they’re somewhat calmer than most Macaws in the genus.
A note on the Lear’s Macaw
Often mistaken for Hyacinth Macaws, a slightly smaller Brazilian native called the Lear’s Macaw or Indigo Macaw also sports brilliant navy-to-purple feathers.
Though technically classified as blue, this bird makes our list by virtue of its often-erroneous identification and close color connection to its bigger cousin, the Hyacinth.
In bright light, their plumage takes on a greenish hue. They are about 15% smaller than Hyacinths, with a marginally longer lifespan.
The scarlet and purple female Eclectus parrot
Eclectus parrots are a truly remarkable parrot species and one of the few that are sexually dimorphic.
Simply put, this means that males and females are entirely different colors.
The male Eclectus is predominantly bright green with blue and red feathers, whereas the female is a brilliant, vivid scarlet with a purple breast and underwings.
Native to the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, large populations of this beautiful bird remain in the wild, where they love to feast on fruit trees.
Indeed, Eclectus pairs are also commonly kept as pets. They’re medium-sized (around 14 inches / 35 centimeters), intelligent, playful, and social.
A title fit for royalty: the Lilac-Crowned Amazon
While predominantly emerald green in coloration, the Lilac-Crowned Amazon makes our list for its distinctive purple head feathers.
Found in the wild along the coast of Mexico, this parrot makes an exceptional pet, known for forming strong bonds with its owners through plenty of interaction and play.
Like the Eclectus, the Amazon is relatively small, measuring only 12 to 13 inches (30 to 34 centimeters) and weighing about 10 ounces (300 grams).
Unfortunately, the destruction of their natural habitat has seen a rampant decline in their population, combatted only by captive breeding processes, generally for resale purposes.
Special mention: the Rainbow Lorikeet
Another candidate in the blue or purple debate is the striking and stunning Rainbow Lorikeet.
As its name suggests, this beauty boasts a whole range of colors, including green, orange, and yellow, and a blueish-purple face, head, and breast.
Commonly found along the Eastern Seaboard of Australia, Lorikeets are beloved home birds, easily trained provided they receive many hours of attention daily.
They’re slightly smaller than Eclectus parrots and Amazons but make up for their diminutive stature with big, bustling personalities.
That said, they prefer to live in pairs, so keep this in mind if you’re planning on adopting one.
Unique and uncommon gene mutations
So far, we’ve looked at parrots with naturally occurring purple plumage.
However, on occasion, specialist breeders have been able to produce birds with lilac feathers by isolating specific color genes throughout various genealogical generations.
Success is most often found with parakeets, or more specifically, budgies.
Though they are generally green or blue, purple mutations have been around since 1934, when an ornithologist in Australia first noted the birth of a violet and grey parakeet.
Even so, while they’re incredibly beautiful, inbreeding budgies creates a multitude of problems, specifically with their overall health and well-being.
Therefore, while the desire for these rare and unique lookers exists, it’s considered detrimental to the species and is consequently not advisable.
What is the rarest parrot?
The rarest known parrot in the world is the Spix’s Macaw, also known as the Little Blue Macaw, for its vivid blue plumage.
While previously endemic to Brazil, this incredible creature was declared extinct in the wild in 2019.
However, in excellent news, the hard work of breeding programs and conservationists has seen them successfully reintroduced into nature, according to Science.org, as of June 2022.
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