Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot)

Psittrichas fulgidus

Last updated: March 18, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

It’s one of only three parrots with naked faces.

Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot) Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Psittaciformes
Family
Psittaculidae
Genus
Psittrichas
Scientific Name
Psittrichas fulgidus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot) Locations

Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot) Locations

Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot) Facts

Fun Fact
It’s one of only three parrots with naked faces.
Estimated Population Size
20,000 to 49,999
Biggest Threat
Habitat destruction, overhunting for its feathers
Most Distinctive Feature
One month
Other Name(s)
Vulturine parrot, devil’s parrot, Pesquet's Parrot
Temperament
Two
Wingspan
9 to 9.8 inches
Training
Humans, snakes, bats, birds of prey
Incubation Period
One month
Litter Size
Two
Habitat
Rainforest
Predators
Humans, snakes, bats, birds of prey
Diet
Herbivore
Type
Bird
Common Name
Dracula parrot
Location
New Guinea
Nesting Location
A mature, hollow tree
Age of Molting
12 weeks

Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot) Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Grey
  • Red
  • Black
Lifespan
It’s one of only three parrots with naked faces.
Weight
20,000 to 49,999
Height
Habitat destruction, overhunting for its feathers
Length
Its black, featherless face
Age of Weaning
Vulturine parrot, devil’s parrot, Pesquet's Parrot

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“The parrot that looks like a vulture.”


Don’t fear the Dracula parrot. Though the sounds it makes late at night in its rainforest habitat can be hair-raising, the bird does not drink human blood or any sort of blood. Indeed, it is a frugivore that mostly craves certain types of figs. If figs aren’t available, it will settle for mangoes, other fruit, nectar, and flowers.

Four Amazing Facts About the Dracula Parrot

Here are four amazing facts about the misnamed Dracula parrot.

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1. The bare skin on its head avoids feathers being befouled by the sticky fruits it eats.
2. Males can be told from females by the red spot behind the eye. Females lack this.
3. It’s only found in the mountain and hillside rainforests of New Guinea.
4. The Dracula parrot is the only animal in its genus.

Where To Find the Dracula Parrot

Psittrichas fulgidus is only found in the rainforests of the hills and mountains of New Guinea, usually at elevations of between 1968 and 3937 feet, though they’ve been found as low as 98 feet and as high as 6562 feet. They roost high up in tall trees and prefer to hop from one limb to another instead of flying. Unfortunately, this makes them easier for predators to catch.

Dracula Parrot Nests

The parrot builds a nest inside the cavity of an old tree. Other than this, not a lot is known about the bird’s nesting habits.


Articles Mentioning Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot)

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Articles Mentioning Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot)

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Dracula Parrot Scientific Name

The Dracula parrot’s scientific name is Psittrichas fulgidus. Psittrichas is from the Greek words for “parrot,” which is psittake and “hair,” which is trikkos or thrix. This describes the bird’s feathers. Flugidus is Latin for “glittering.” There is only one species of Psittrichas fulgidus and no subspecies. Not only this, Pesquet’s parrot is both the only member of its genus and the only member of its subfamily, Psittrichasinae.

Dracula Parrot Appearance

The appearance of this large parrot is striking. It is 18 inches long with a weight of between 21 and 28 ounces. Its feathers are mostly deep black though there may be some gray on the chest. The belly, wing panels, and the coverts of the broad tail are brilliant red. The bird famously has a bald, black face and a long curved beak that make its head look disproportionately small for a parrot. Indeed, its head resembles the head of a vulture, which gives it its other name of vulture parrot.

Dracula Parrot Behavior

P. fulgidus lives high in the trees of its rainforest habitat. It can be solitary, found in pairs or in flocks of 20 parrots as it jumps nervously from tree limb to tree limb while flicking its wings. Most parrots would grab onto a branch with its beak if it wanted to change locations. The Dracula parrot does call while flying, and the sound can be described as loud, rasping and strangled. Mated pairs also call to each other with a more slurring sound. The parrot is seen to fly slowly, with shallow beats of its wings. It also glides until it finds a perch.

Dracula Parrot Diet

Pesquet’s parrot is not only not vampiric, but its diet is made up mostly of figs. It has also been seen eating mangos and the fruit and flowers of the climbing pandarius. Nectar and seeds are also part of the bird’s diet.

Dracula Parrot Predators and Threats

Though not much is written about the parrot’s natural predators, like other parrots it is probably subject to predation by birds of prey, snakes, and bats, especially when it’s young. Fortunately, it is spared predation by monkeys as New Guinea does not have monkeys. But the Dracula parrot’s most dangerous predator is the human, which hunts it for its feathers and destroys its habitat through logging.

Dracula Parrot Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan

The Dracula parrot’s breeding season begins in February and lasts till April or May. The female builds a nest in a hollow tree and usually lays two eggs. She is the one who incubates the eggs, and the male feeds her as she does so. The eggs hatch after about a month, and the chicks, which are born helpless, are fed by both parents. They fledge after about 12 weeks. The lifespan of the bird ranges between 20 and 40 years in the wild.

Dracula Parrot Population

The population of Pesquet’s parrot is between 20,000 to 49,999 individuals, and the population is decreasing due to habitat loss and poaching for its black and scarlet feathers. According to the IUCN RedList, its conservation status is vulnerable.

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does the Dracula parrot migrate?

The Dracula parrot doesn’t exactly migrate, but it appears to be nomadic, especially when its favorite fruit is scarce.

How many eggs does the Dracula parrot lay?

Normally, the Dracula parrot lays between one and two eggs, though two is the norm.

How fast does the Dracula parrot fly?

Though the flying speed hasn’t been measured, if it flies like other large parrots P. fulgidus can cruise at between 20 and 30 miles per hour. Its flight has been described as slow, so it’s probably closer to 20 miles per hour than 30.

What is the Dracula parrot’s wingspan?

The wingspan of the Dracula parrot is hard to come by but judging by parrots of a similar size such as the burrowing parrot it may have a wingspan of 9 to 9.8 inches.

When does the Dracula parrot leave the nest?

Dracula parrot chicks leave the nest after they’re about 12 weeks old.

Are Dracula parrots friendly?

Dracula parrots are described as somewhat high-strung, and because they are not raised to be pet birds they could be aggressive toward a human who tried to hold them in captivity.

How much do Dracula parrots cost?

One of these parrots can cost as much as $3000 or more minus shipping charges. However, even if you can spring for the price of one of these birds you should not buy a Dracula parrot. They are not the best parrots to have as pets because they are wild birds and unpredictable. Moreover, they are endangered, and in many places it is simply illegal to own one.

Why is it called a Dracula parrot?

It’s called that because its long, hooked beak and black, featherless head give it a scary look. Its black and red feathers also remind people of the cloak worn by the bloodthirsty vampire count. It also gives loud, rasping screams in the middle of the night.

Is Dracula parrot the real thing?

Dracula parrots are quite real. Some people have them as pets, though the price of a single parrot can run into thousands of dollars. There’s also the price of the special fruits the bird needs to eat, the cost of a very large enclosure and the cost of veterinary care among others.

Can you own a Dracula parrot?

It is probably illegal to own a Dracula parrot where you live. They really should not be sold at any price because they’re endangered.

Sources
  1. ITIS, Available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=177544#null
  2. Datazone, Available here: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/pesquets-parrot-psittrichas-fulgidus
  3. Wikipedia (1970)
  4. My Modern Met (1970)
  5. World Parrot Trust (1970)
  6. Avian Enrichment (1970)
  7. Welsh Exotic Birds Farm (1970)
  8. All About Parrots (1970)
  9. KidAdl (1970)

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