Coracopsis vasa ............................................................. By Gideon Scheepers
The Greater Vasa Parrot is a very unusual parrot. They have very peculiar traits as far as parrots go. They change colour, go bald, chicks hatch at 18 days, take dust baths, and look like they escaped from Jurassic Park.
Greater Vasas are approximately 50 cm tall. Plumage is brownish black with a greyish tinge above and on the wings. The under tail coverts are grey with black shafts.
Range and Habitat
From the islands of Madagascar and Comores off the East Coast of Southern Africa, these weird birds, are of great interest to both the aviculturalist and Ornithologist. They are generally seen in small groups in the daytime, but flock together to roost at night. They are forest and savannah dwellers.In the wild they eat fruits, berries, seeds and nuts, and will also raid cultivated crops.
Housing in Aviculture
They should be given a longish flight, as they love to fly as well as access to the outside and an earth floor as they will take a dirt bath, or a water bath and you can see them sunning themselves frequently. They can be housed in suspended aviaries as long as a large dish filled with washed sand is supplied and replace regularly.
Breeding in Aviculture
The first recorded breeding can be attributed to Antonio De Dios from the Philippines, when in 1988 4 of his 12 pairs laid but only 2 chicks were reared. Normally a very quiet birds, but they do tend to become vocal during the breeding season. As the breeding season approaches the female's feathers will change from grey to a light brown. She will also lose her head and facial feathers leaving the head a strange yellow colour.
this time the Cloaca enlarges and is visible in both birds. The hen
becomes aggressive at this time and the male is the submissive one.
She becomes very demanding, expecting the male's full attention. If
the male is disinterested she will chase him relentlessly until he
gives in and feeds her or mates with her. In South Africa some aviculturists
put two males to a female, so that one can rest while the other tends
to the hen.
clutch size for the Greater Vasa is 2-3 eggs. Also unique to this
parrot is their incubation method. Pairs have been known to bury their
eggs or chicks in the nesting material in the nest box. Incubation
lasts only 18 days. When the chicks hatch they are tended for 7 weeks
after which they are independent. When handreared, babies wean easily
and are independent in 10 weeks. Chicks are long, leggy and resemble
Australian Parakeets. They have rather large upper mandibles with
prominent round feeding pads located at the tip of the mandible instead
of at the base.
They make great pets, learn to talk, always seem happy and are very endearing as pets. If acquired young they learn to love being held and scratched much like a cockatoo but do not seem to demand it.
Other Specie of Vasa
They differ mainly by being smaller at about 35 cm, and weight about 260-300 grams.
They are lighter in colour than the nominate race , brown under the tail coverts , they are 48 cm tall
These are grey, rather than brownish grey, darker below and lighter under the tail. They are about 50cm long and weighs about 405-565 g
I do not know of any mutations. If you know of any please contact me at Gideon. and send a photo if possible
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