[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Eunymphicus cornutus | [authority] Gmelin, 1788 | [UK] Horned Parakeet | [FR] Perruche huppee | [DE] Hornsittich | [ES] Perico Cornudo | [NL] Raiateakarakiri | [copyright picture] Birdlife
The parrot genus Eunymphicus, endemic to New Caledonia, comprises two taxa, previously considered as subspecies but perhaps better treated as separate species. It comprises one species on Grande Terre and one on the Loyalty Islands. Affinities with New Guinea and New Zealand are an important aspect of New Caledonian biogeography. Eunymphicus is sister to the New Zealand?central Pacific Cyanoramphus.
E.c. cornutus: both adults yellow ear coverts and hindneck; red forehead and forecrown; black face and lores; black elongated crest feathers tipped with red; green/yellow rump; green tail washed with blue. Bill pale blue/grey tipped with black. Eye orange/red. E.c. uvaeensis: both adults differ from cornutus by having green ear coverts and hindneck; red on centre of forehead, none on forecrown; black/green face; six green, elongated crest feathers.
Listen to the sound of Horned Parakeet
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
recorded by Patrik Aberg
Australasia : New Caledonia. Eunymphicus cornutus is endemic to New Caledonia (to France).
It is patchily distributed in humid forest to 1,200 m, especially forests with Agathis and Araucaria pines, but it also ranges into low-stature forest and scrub in maquis and high mountains. Are wary and mostly unapproachable. Are generally seen in pairs and small groups of up to 10 birds. Roosts in the treetops or in tree hollows, becoming active an hour before sunrise.
Nests have been found on the ground, including under rocks and in fallen tree-trunks and it has recently been recorded nesting in tree holes. Clutch size 2-4 eggs, incubated for about 3 weeks. YOung fledge after another 5-6 weeks.
Birds have been seen in large groups, feeding in savannah and the species is seen every year in the valleys, feeding in close proximity to rural dwellings and in open areas. Pairs or small flocks (family flocks in April-June) feed in the canopy, largely on flowers, nuts, fruits, berries, seeds of trees and shrubs, and ripe pawpaw.
copyright: Josep del Hoyo
This species has been downlisted as recent surveys indicate that there are over 2,500 mature individuals. Nevertheless, the total population remains small, and it is restricted to a single subpopulation which is suspected to have declined owing to habitat degradation, and it therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.
It appears to have declined since the 1880s when it was reported from all forested areas, and it has disappeared from Mt Panie. Its numbers and trends are poorly known, but there are two recent independent population estimates of 1,000-3,000 birds and 720 pairs (N. Barre in litt.). Both estimates are based on approximate extrapolations from densities in favoured areas plus much lower densities in all other forests, and require further research. Numbers have remained stable in Riviere Bleue in the last 20 years. The cause of the apparent historical decline is not known. Current populations may be declining through habitat degradation. It may be susceptible when nesting to predation by introduced mammals, especially rats, as birds often nest at higher altitudes where there are fewer rats.
It probably migrates seasonally to foraging grounds during the austral winter (June-September)