Tell me something I don't know

Bricksnbeatles

Well-known member
I bet this is something you didn’t know:

Echo parakeet​

Species of parrot endemic to Mauritius


The echo parakeet (Psittacula eques) is a species of parrot endemic to the Mascarene Islands of Mauritius and formerly Réunion. It is the only living native parrot of the Mascarene Islands; all others have become extinctdue to human activity. Two subspecies have been recognised, the extinct Réunion parakeet (for a long time known only from descriptions and illustrations) and the living echo parakeet, sometimes known as the Mauritius parakeet. The relationship between the two populations was historically unclear, but a 2015 DNA study determined them to be subspecies of the same species by comparing the DNA of echo parakeets with a single skin thought to be from a Réunion parakeet, but it has also been suggested they did not constitute different subspecies. As it was named first, the binomial name of the Réunion parakeet is used for the species; the Réunion subspecies thereby became P. eques eques, while the Mauritius subspecies became P. eques echo. Their closest relative was the extinct Newton's parakeet of Rodrigues, and the three are grouped among the subspecies of the rose-ringed parakeet(from which they diverged) of Asia and Africa.

The echo parakeet is 34–42 cm (13–17 in) long, weighs 167–193 g (5.9–6.8 oz), and its wingspan is 49–54 cm (19–21 in). It is generally green (the female is darker overall) and has two collars on the neck; the male has one black and one pink collar, and the female has one green and one indistinct black collar. The upper bill of the male is red and the lower blackish brown; the female's upper bill is black. The skin around the eyes is orange and the feet are grey. Juveniles have a red-orange bill, which turns black after they fledge, and immature birds are similar to the female. The Réunion parakeet had a complete pink collar around the neck, whereas it tapers out at the back in the Mauritius subspecies. The related rose-ringed parakeet which has been introduced to Mauritius is similar, though slightly different in colouration and smaller. The echo parakeet has a wide range of vocalisations, the most common sounding like "chaa-chaa, chaa-chaa".

As the species is limited to forests with native vegetation, it is largely restricted to the Black River Gorges National Park in the southwest of Mauritius. It is arboreal and keeps to the canopy, where it feeds and rests. It nests in natural cavities in old trees, and clutches usually consist of two to four white eggs. The female incubates the eggs, while the male feeds her, and the young are brooded by the female. Not all pairs are strictly monogamous, as breeding between females and "auxiliary males" is known to occur. The echo parakeet mainly feeds on the fruits and leaves of native plants, though it has been observed to feed on introduced plants. The Réunion parakeet probably went extinct due to hunting and deforestation, and was last reported in 1732. The echo parakeet was also hunted by early visitors to Mauritius and due to destruction and alteration of its native habitat, its numbers declined throughout the 20th century, reaching as few as eight to 12 in the 1980s, when it was referred to as "the world's rarest parrot". An intensive effort of captive breeding beginning in the 1990s saved the bird from extinction; the species was downgraded from critically endangered to endangered in 2007, and the population had reached 750 birds by 2019, whereafter it was classified as vulnerable.
 

Mcknib

Well-known member
And I thought they were only in Réunion

You learn something new everyday I'll be on the lookout for them next time I'm in Mauritius for sure

Thankyou, the knowledge base on this forum is a vast treasure trove
 

Bricksnbeatles

Well-known member
And I thought they were only in Réunion

You learn something new everyday I'll be on the lookout for them next time I'm in Mauritius for sure

Thankyou, the knowledge base on this forum is a vast treasure trove
Of course!
Well, you know what they say about Réunion:
That it’s an island in the Indian Ocean that is an overseas department and region of France. It is located approximately 550 km (340 mi) east of the island of Madagascar and 175 km (109 mi)southwest of the island of Mauritius. As of January 2021, it had a population of 858,450.
Like the other four overseas departments, Réunion also holds the status of a region of France, and is an integral part of the French Republic. Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and is part of the eurozone. Réunion and the fellow French overseas department of Mayotte are the only eurozone regions located in the Southern Hemisphere.
As in the rest of France, the official language of Réunion is French. In addition, a majority of the region's population speaks Réunion Creole. ;)
 

peccary

Well-known member
I bet this is something you didn’t know:

Echo parakeet​

Species of parrot endemic to Mauritius


The echo parakeet (Psittacula eques) is a species of parrot endemic to the Mascarene Islands of Mauritius and formerly Réunion. It is the only living native parrot of the Mascarene Islands; all others have become extinctdue to human activity. Two subspecies have been recognised, the extinct Réunion parakeet (for a long time known only from descriptions and illustrations) and the living echo parakeet, sometimes known as the Mauritius parakeet. The relationship between the two populations was historically unclear, but a 2015 DNA study determined them to be subspecies of the same species by comparing the DNA of echo parakeets with a single skin thought to be from a Réunion parakeet, but it has also been suggested they did not constitute different subspecies. As it was named first, the binomial name of the Réunion parakeet is used for the species; the Réunion subspecies thereby became P. eques eques, while the Mauritius subspecies became P. eques echo. Their closest relative was the extinct Newton's parakeet of Rodrigues, and the three are grouped among the subspecies of the rose-ringed parakeet(from which they diverged) of Asia and Africa.

The echo parakeet is 34–42 cm (13–17 in) long, weighs 167–193 g (5.9–6.8 oz), and its wingspan is 49–54 cm (19–21 in). It is generally green (the female is darker overall) and has two collars on the neck; the male has one black and one pink collar, and the female has one green and one indistinct black collar. The upper bill of the male is red and the lower blackish brown; the female's upper bill is black. The skin around the eyes is orange and the feet are grey. Juveniles have a red-orange bill, which turns black after they fledge, and immature birds are similar to the female. The Réunion parakeet had a complete pink collar around the neck, whereas it tapers out at the back in the Mauritius subspecies. The related rose-ringed parakeet which has been introduced to Mauritius is similar, though slightly different in colouration and smaller. The echo parakeet has a wide range of vocalisations, the most common sounding like "chaa-chaa, chaa-chaa".

As the species is limited to forests with native vegetation, it is largely restricted to the Black River Gorges National Park in the southwest of Mauritius. It is arboreal and keeps to the canopy, where it feeds and rests. It nests in natural cavities in old trees, and clutches usually consist of two to four white eggs. The female incubates the eggs, while the male feeds her, and the young are brooded by the female. Not all pairs are strictly monogamous, as breeding between females and "auxiliary males" is known to occur. The echo parakeet mainly feeds on the fruits and leaves of native plants, though it has been observed to feed on introduced plants. The Réunion parakeet probably went extinct due to hunting and deforestation, and was last reported in 1732. The echo parakeet was also hunted by early visitors to Mauritius and due to destruction and alteration of its native habitat, its numbers declined throughout the 20th century, reaching as few as eight to 12 in the 1980s, when it was referred to as "the world's rarest parrot". An intensive effort of captive breeding beginning in the 1990s saved the bird from extinction; the species was downgraded from critically endangered to endangered in 2007, and the population had reached 750 birds by 2019, whereafter it was classified as vulnerable.
So cal in general, and where I live in Orange County specifically, has become home to a ton of parrots which are apparently endangered.

It sounds like I'm in the jungle sometimes with all of the squaking and screeching. There are a bunch of loquat trees near me and they go ape shit in those things and there are large flocks of them (my daughter loves them. Watching the crows and parrots was one of the first things she loved doing).

Anyways, you just reminded me of that, and I don't think that many people know about our large parrot population. Red Crowns are the largest, but there are apparently others as well.

 

djmiyta

Active member
So cal in general, and where I live in Orange County specifically, has become home to a ton of parrots which are apparently endangered.

It sounds like I'm in the jungle sometimes with all of the squaking and screeching. There are a bunch of loquat trees near me and they go ape shit in those things and there are large flocks of them (my daughter loves them. Watching the crows and parrots was one of the first things she loved doing).

Anyways, you just reminded me of that, and I don't think that many people know about our large parrot population. Red Crowns are the largest, but there are apparently others as well.

FYI it was rumored that the Budweiser plant in Van Nuys Calif (which had a huge parrot population ) had just let them go free when they closed that part of there business now they flock all over in the valley noisy as hell. Ahhhh rumors
 

Mcknib

Well-known member
FYI it was rumored that the Budweiser plant in Van Nuys Calif (which had a huge parrot population ) had just let them go free when they closed that part of there business now they flock all over in the valley noisy as hell. Ahhhh rumors

Must be pretty bad parrots flying around shouting wassup all the time

 

peccary

Well-known member
FYI it was rumored that the Budweiser plant in Van Nuys Calif (which had a huge parrot population ) had just let them go free when they closed that part of there business now they flock all over in the valley noisy as hell. Ahhhh rumors
I haven't heard that one specifically, but I have heard lots of rumors: deforestation in Mexico, illegal bird smugglers letting them go thinking they may be caught, a pet store burning down where the owner let the birds all go to try to save them. I'm not sure what's true, honestly.

Either way I think it's really cool to have them here, but I do wonder what they do competition-wise with our native birds. I feel like their numbers have grown quite a lot in the past 10 years or so.
 

DAJE

Active member
Where I live (Melbourne Australia) there are many interesting birds, and in my particular suburban area there are big flocks of Rainbow lorikeet and I often see them squawking away happily in the trees and swooping around the place in big noisy flocks. Photos don't do them justice, they really are the most outrageously colourful things ever.
 

Cucurbitam0schata

Well-known member
I work in ag and food processing, so I'm all about food/farm fun facts. I just learned this today:

Xanthan gum is made by fermenting sugar with a bacteria: Xanthomonas campestris. Any gardeners or farmers in the house probably know what that is: Black rot! It's one of the worst bacteria strains out there that can swiftly wreck havoc on a field of broccoli (or cauliflower or any other brassica), and the bacteria can lurk for years afterwards in seed and plant waste. Wild that a commonly used food additive is made from a commonly destructive lil goober.
 

Mcknib

Well-known member
The power of meme

You know something I'm glad this has turned into a fairly good learning thing

Made me think of my Dad, god rest his soul he was a total man's man ex army brought up in one of the toughest areas of Glasgow and fought like a maniac

but with a wicked sense of humour, he was a multi instrumentalist, extremely generous and loved anything to do with the solar system from his days in the army serving in the Radfan mountains in Yemen where they often navigated in the desert at night using the stars it never left him and he ended up doing a degree in astronomy in his late 70s

He also loved bird watching and used to spend hours studying them and pointing out different species and where they had migrated from

So it's pretty appropriate a funny meme ended up with some fascinating stories about parrots one of his absolute favourite birds


Keep it coming chaps
 
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Cucurbitam0schata

Well-known member
@jeffwhitfield just made me look up the story to "Duck Shit" tea.

"The story goes, back in the day, when the farmers in the mountains of Chao Zhou first discovered this cultivar, they were amazed by the natural floral aromas and depth of flavour of this tea. As the soil that the tea was growing in was known as “duck poo soil” due to its yellow colour, and also, to deter any curious passers-by from stealing any of these special plants, the farmers named this type of Dancong “duck poo fragrance”, aka ya shi xiang (鴨屎香)."
 

wintercept

Well-known member
Here’s some lesser known things I’ve learned from beekeeping:

Everyone knows that only the queen can make more bees, but it’s actually a bit more complicated. The queen is the only bee that is mated, therefore she lays fertilized eggs that become workers. All workers are female.

Now the workers never mate, but they can lay unfertilized eggs, which become drones. All drones are male. So worker bees can make more bees, but they are limited to producing males and are not sexually compatible with them, so a hive without a queen is doomed.

We lost one of our queens, and it was scary. Without a queen, the workers will begin to try and make one. They do this by selecting eggs laid by the previous queen and feeding them “royal jelly”, which is a mixture of nutrients and hormones that allow the larvae to develop reproductive organs. The problem here is there must be eggs at the earliest stages of development present, or the hive is doomed. We transplanted a frame with eggs from another hive, and fortunately they were able to make a viable queen.

The workers will make multiple queens at once, but in the end there can only be one. The new queens will fight to the death for the throne. This is risky, because there is a very real chance that the victorious queen is still mortally wounded. The best case scenario is for one queen to hatch before the others. She will then sting every other queen before they hatch. Unlike the workers, the queen can sting as much as she wants. Her stinger does not have a barb so it does not get pulled out along with her guts.

Drones, (the males), don’t have a stinger, but they do have a penis. When a new queen is made, she must mate in order to be able to make more workers. So, she goes on a mating flight and the whole thing is pretty elaborate, but in the end she ends up mating with one drone. Unfortunately for the drone… well:

“After mating the queen separates from the male with the bulb of penis remaining in her genital tract. The male reproductive organs tear at the penis neck. The drone subsequently bleeds to death.”

Poor guy. But at least he went out with a purpose.

It’s relatively common knowledge that the drones are kicked out of the hive for the winter, since they would just take up precious resources. This often preceded commentary on how absolutely useless the drones are at anything other than mating. However, contrary to this popular misconception, the drones do actually put in some work during the warmer season.

After the queen dilemma, we noticed an excess of drones that the workers had made. I saw them working on gathering resources, returning with their bright orange bags of pollen, and even standing guard at the door. But eventually I watched them get wrestled out the hive by the workers…

So there you have it. Bee facts.
 
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