Dracula parrots: what are they and do they feed on blood?

With a gothic sartorial elegance worthy of a Transylvanian count, it’s not hard to see how the Dracula parrot got its name.

Even the swept-back hairstyle fits the bill. If it could talk (and there seems to be no indication that it can), it would surely be parroting “I varna drinka your blard” rather than “pieces of eight”.

What do Dracula parrots eat?

But the Dracula parrot is no vampire. It does, though, have very specific tastes. It’s a frugivore, and a very fussy one, feeding on just a few particular species of fig.

The lack of facial feathers, which makes the head appear disproportionately small, may be an adaptation to avoid getting matted up with sticky fig juice.

Where do Dracula parrots live?

Also known as Pesquet’s parrot, or the vulturine parrot on the basis of its unusually hooked beak, it is endemic to the forests of New Guinea, where it nests in large, hollow trees. It measures about 46cm in length, weighs about 700g and can live for 20 to 40 years.

Males have a small red patch behind each eye, which distinguishes them from females.

The species is officially listed as Vulnerable, largely due to being hunted for its spectacular feathers.

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This article by Stuart Blackman was first published by Discover Wildlife on 5 December 2023. Lead Image: Getty Images.

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