The Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides), also known as the Blue-Winged Parakeet, is endemic to the Western Ghats of South India. A member of the genus Psittacula, it has a population of around 10,000 individuals. Categorized as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, it is most closely related to the Layard’s Parakeet (Psittacula calthrapae) of Sri Lanka. The genus Psittacula has an African and Asian distribution. Part of the parrot family Psittaculidae, it has as many as 15 extant and extinct species. They are as follows:

  • Alexandrine Parakeet, Psittacula eupatria
  • Seychelles Parakeet, Psittacula wardi (extinct)
  • Rose-Ringed Parakeet, Psittacula krameri
  • Echo Parakeet, Psittacula eques
  • Newton’s Parakeet, Psittacula exsul (extinct)
  • Slaty-Headed Parakeet, Psittacula himalayana
  • Grey-Headed Parakeet, Psittacula finschii
  • Plum-Headed Parakeet, Psittacula cyanocephala
  • Blossom-Headed Parakeet, Psittacula roseata
  • Malabar Parakeet, Psittacula columboides
  • Layard’s Parakeet, Psittacula calthropae
  • Lord Derby’s Parakeet, Psittacula derbiana
  • Red-Breasted Parakeet, Psittacula alexandri
  • Nicobar Parakeet, Psittacula caniceps
  • Long-Tailed Parakeet, Psittacula longicauda

Out of these the Alexandrine, Rose-Ringed, Slaty-Headed, Grey-Headed, Plum-Headed, Blossom-Headed, Malabar, Layard’s, Lord Derby’s, Red-Breasted, Nicobar and Long-Tailed Parakeets are found in South Asia. Only the Seychelles (Seychelles), Echo (Mauritius) and Newton’s (Rodrigues) Parakeets  are not to be found in Asia. Other genera included in the family are Micropsitta, Alisterus, Aprosmictus, Polytelis, Psittinus, Geoffroyus, Prioniturus, Tanygnathus, Eclectus, Lophopsittacus and Necropsittacus.

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows an illustration of the Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides). It appeared in a book, ‘Birds of Asia’ (Volume VI) by John Gould (1804-1881), an English ornithologist and wildlife artist, and Henry Constantine Richter (1821-1902), an English artist famous for his natural history lithographs. The illustration dates back to the time period between between 1850 and 1883.

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