Paroquet, Or Parrakeet, the common name of many old-world parrots of the subfamily pezoporinw. They all have a moderate bill, the tail long, broad, and more or less graduated, with the ends of the feathers narrowed, the tarsi generally high and slender, and the claws nearly straight, enabling them to walk" upon the ground more easily than the other subfamilies. In the Australian genus nym-phicus (Wagl.) the bill is strongly dentated, the wings and tail very long, the two middle feathers of the latter prolonged and pointed, and the tarsi stout. The crested paroquet (N. Novae Hollandice, Wagl.) is of an elegant form and grayish color, with the sides and top of the head bright yellow, a reddish orange spot below the eye, and a handsome yellow crest like that of the lapwing; they are migratory, at times collecting in large flocks, and much upon the ground picking up seeds and grains; they breed in holes in gum trees (eucalypti) in the neighborhood of water, depositing five or six eggs. - The broad-tailed paroquets (platycer-cus, Vig.) of Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea, are very elegant, graceful, and lively, with diminished powers of flight and climbing and more activity upon the ground; the bill is short and curved, with obtuse tip and sides very slightly if at all dentated; the wings moderate, and the tail broad and long.
They are usually seen in flocks upon the ground, and sometimes do much damage both to the newly sown and ripening maize and wheat. The nonpareil paroquet (P. eximius, Shaw) is one of the handsomest of the family, having the head, neck, and breast scarlet, wings mazarine blue, throat and abdomen yellowish white, back undulated with blackish and yellowish green, and tail blue. More than 30 other species of this genus are described. - The ground paroquet (pezoporus, Illig.) is the most terrestrial of the family, as evinced by the greater elongation of the tarsi and toes, the straighter claws, and the less depressed and more pointed tail. The P. formosus (Illig.) inhabits the bushy districts of Australia; it is about a foot long, of a lively green color, varied and barred with black and yellow; it lives entirely upon the .ground, where it runs with great speed. - Among the handsomest of the subfamily are the ringed paroquets (palceornis, Vig.), which have a short rounded bill, sharp-pointed, and the tail long and graduated, the two middle feathers longest; they are remarkable for the elegance of their form, their docility, and powers of imitation; most of the species are found in India and its archipelago, and may be known by the collar-like ring around the neck.
The Alexandrine paroquet (P. Alexandria Vig.) was so named from the supposition that it was the one brought to Europe by Alexander the Great; it is about 15 in. long, green above, paler or yellower below; across each shoulder is a purplish red patch; a black band from the lower mandible descends and passes backward so as almost to encircle the neck, growing narrowest behind, where there is a red collar becoming narrowest in front; the bill reddish. This bird was well known to the Greeks and Romans, who kept it in highly ornamented cages; it is mentioned by Aristotle and Pliny, and Ovid has described it in one of his most beautiful elegies (on the death of Corinna's parrot). There are about a dozen other species in India, associating in flocks, and often doing mischief to the crops; they are all docile, imitative, and handsome. - The grass paroquets (melopsittacus, Gould) of Australia are remarkable not only for the beauty of their plumage but for their pleasing song; the bill is very short and high, the tail graduated and cuneiform, the tarsi long, and the toes slender.
They pass most of their time on the ground, migrating with rapid flight from place to place in large flocks in search of grass and other seeds; during the heat of the day they remain concealed in lofty trees; they are often kept in cages, where their beauty, song, and gentle and loving habits make them pleasing pets. In the allied genus nanodes (Vig. and Horsf.) or euphema (Wagl.), also Australian, are about half a dozen elegant little grass paroquets, with habits like those of the preceding genus. - The genus trichoglossus (Vig. and Horsf.), which seems to connect this subfamily with the lories, hence called "lorikeets," takes the place in Australia of the Indian lories, and contains some of the most beautiful of the parrot family; the prevailing color of the plumage is green, varied with scarlet, blue, and yellow; the tail is elongated and graduated, and the wings are narrow and pointed; the bill is slender and weak, but arched and hooked; the tarsi short and robust, and the strong and broad toes armed with sharp claws; the generic name is derived from the structure of the tongue, which has near the tip a pencil or brush of hair-like bristles, especially adapted for procuring the nectar of flowers, which forms their principal food; they also suck the juices of soft fruits, but do not attempt the hard seeds of which most parrots are fond.
The blue-bellied paroquet (T. multicolor, Vig. and Horsf.) is about 13 in. long, of which the tail is 6; the head and throat are bluish purple, with a nuchal collar of bright green; breast vermilion red, passing on the sides into rich yellow; abdomen deep purple in the middle, vermilion tipped with green on the sides; under tail coverts red, yellow, and green, and under wing coverts red; upper parts grass-green, varied with vermilion and yellow on the back of the neck; tail green in the middle, with more or less yellow on the sides. They live in large flocks, moving from place to place in search of the newly expanded flowers of the gum trees; they are sometimes caged, but do not live long in confinement from the difficulty of supplying them with proper food.
Crested Paroquet (Nymphicus Novae Hollandiae). a. Head, with crest erect, b. Tail spread.
Alexandrine Paroquet (Palseornis Alexandri).