Don't let their goth garb fool ya: strikingly beautiful Pesquet's Parrots – also known as "Dracula Parrots" – prefer forest fruits over vital fluids.
Pesquet's parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus) may be the most unusual looking parrot you've never seen. An apparent escapee from a horror movie set, these uber-goth avians are native to fog-shrouded and forested mountain ridges in tropical New Guinea.
Vampiric associations arise from several of this rare and threatened parrot's outstanding visual attributes. First off, their black and charcoal grey plumage is highlighted by brilliant – dare we say, “bloody”? - red feathers on the lower portion of the chest and central areas of the wings. The latter are prominently displayed when the birds take to the air.
Then there's that viciously hooked beak and vaguely vulture-like head... did we say “vaguely”? Make that “frighteningly”! Oh yeah, if Satan was a pirate, he'd totes have a Pesquet's Parrot perched upon his scaly shoulder.
Fear not, fans of feathered friends, Dracula Parrots' bark is far worse than their bite because these impressive creatures are herbivorous. Their preferred food consists of several different types of figs, supplemented by flowers and nectar. These foodstuffs are very sticky, so Pesquet's Parrots have evolved a mainly featherless head that accentuates their vulturine aspect.
Pesquet's Parrots are large as parrots go; adults can grow up to 46cm (18 inches) in length and weigh approximately 680 to 800 grams, or 24 to 28 ounces. Unlike many tropical birds, both male and female Pesquet's parrots share the species' eye-popping plumage although makes can be distinguished by a small red patch behind each eye.
We mentioned the fact that Pesquet's Parrots are endangered – the IUCN Red List rates them as “Vulnerable” due to demand from the global pet trade and traditional use of their feathers. Instead of contributing to the pressures these magnificent creatures face, why not appreciate their wonder remotely via videos such as this one? (images via Kahunapule Michael Johnson, Charles Davis, and Peter Tan)