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Alexandrine Parakeet

Name of a species of large parrot named after Alexander the Great, who is credited with exporting this bird from the Indian Punjab into Europe and the Mediterranean, where they were deemed a valued possession for the upper class and aristocrats. Alexandrine Parakeets measure about 50 to 58 centimeters, are mainly green with a blue-grey sheen on the cheeks and napes, have a maroon bill, a yellowish green abdomen, bluish green tail feathers on the upperside, and yellow tail feathers on the underside. The wings, which are of a darker green, have a maroon shoulder patch at the top of their wing coverts. Though sometimes faint and barely visible, they have a thin black line that stretches from their nostrils at top of their beak to their eyes and sometimes beyond. Its legs are grey, except for the in Thailand endemic subspecies Siamese Alexandrine Parakeet (fig.), which legs are yellowish-grey. Whereas juveniles under the age of three are not dimorphic, adults are, with males showing a thin, pitch-black line on the throat, as well as a pink nape band with slight bluish-grey on the top, which are both absent or pale and hardly visible in females (fig.). In the wild, it is found in Pakistan, India (fig.), Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, in sparse forests, open woodland and cultivated areas. Its scientific name is Psittacula eupatria and the subspecies distributed in Thailand is known as Psittacula eupatria siamensis, or commonly as Siamese Alexandrine Parakeet. Both sexes of the Alexandrine Parakeet are similar to the Rose-ringed Parakeet (fig.), but larger and Rose-ringed Parakeets have no red shoulder patch. In Thai, the Alexandrine Parakeet is named nok kaew mohng, meaning ‘gigantic parrot’ or ‘oversized parrot’. See POSTAGE STAMP and WILDLIFE PICTURES.