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Parrots in the Wild

The Caracopsis Vasa Parro t vasa by KIRSTY SWINNERTON and CARL JONES In June 1995 and 1996 we visited the limestone outcrops and gorges of Western Madagascar as members of scientific expeditions. Daily we saw Vasa Parrots and took photographs on 17 June 1995 near the village of Bekopaka next to the Manambolo river. It was one of 12 birds feeding on the unopened flowers of a Kapok tree. Several fairly large flocks were seen including one of 50-60 in a Zub-zub tree. They were feeding on the cherry shaped fruit, eating the fleshy fruit and then breaking the stones with a loud cracking noise to get at the seeds. In both years we had several observations of them feeding in

these trees which are clearly important food sources. We even saw two birds in a low herbaceous Tsingaka feeding on the tiny seeds. Late one afternoon we saw several dozen apparently feeding and roosting in the mangroves at the mouth of the Tsiribihina river. This is one of the most easily seen birds in Western Madagascar, and we commonly saw them around villages, in secondary forest and scrub, in lightly wooded savannah and especially in riverine woodland. Tame birds with clipped wings were kept by a few villagers as pets.

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Vasa Parrot