Blue Winged Parrotlet - Forpus Xanthopterygius - Least Concern
The blue-winged parrotlet (Forpus xanthopterygius) is a species of parrot in the family Psittacidae. It is the nominate species (F. x. xanthopterygius).
There are two subspecies: Salvadori's blue-winged parrotlet (F. x. flavescens) and Hellmayr's blue-winged parrotlet (F. x. flavissimus).
(Forpus xanthopterygius xanthopterygius) (nominate species)
Typically around 12 centimetres (4.7 in) long and weigh about 28 grams (0.99 oz). Primarily green or olive green with light peach beaks and feet and dark brown eyes, which are surounded by bright green. Blue-winged parrotlets are sexually dimorphic: males have purple-blue primary, secondary, and underwing coverts with bright blue patch on rump. Females have no blue markings and yellow-green foreheads. Like all parrots, blue-winged parrotlets exhibit zygodactyly, meaning two toes face forward and two face backward. Juveniles look like adults, except males have green feathers mixed in with their blue markings. Northeastern Argentina (Misiones, northeastern Corrientes, eastern Chaco, eastern Formosa), from Paraguay north through central/mideastern Brazil to northern Bahia
Salvadori's blue-winged parrotlet - (Forpus xanthopterygius flavescens)
Compared to the nominate species, both males and females are more yellow-green or paler in color. Males have paler blue markings on wings and more yellow-green foreheads, cheeks, and underparts. mideastern Peru south to eastern Bolivia (Beni, Santa Cruz)
Hellmayr's blue-winged parrotlet - (Forpus xanthopterygius flavissimus)
Both males and females are more yellow-green or paler in color. Males have more yellow-green foreheads, cheeks, and throats. Northeastern Brazil from Maranhão, Ceará, Paraiba south to northern Bahia
Distribution and Habitat
Blue-winged parrotlets are found in much of central and northern South America. Their range is split by each subspecies, as described above. It is generally common and widespread, though more localized in the Amazon Basin.
Blue-winged parrotlets are mainly found in lowlands. They occur in dry and riparian woodlands, cerrado, caatinga, palm groves, semi-arid scrubland, savanna, and pastures. Blue-winged parrotlets tend to avoid densely forested areas. They are not found at altitudes above 1,200 metres (3,900 ft).
Blue-winged parrotlets are generally non-migratory; however, populations in Argentina move locally according to the flowering seasons of various plant species in their diet. Populations in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest are altitudinal migrants.
The blue-winged parrotlet is not known to be affected by deforestation or the pet trade, unlike many of its close relatives in the genus Forpus. There are many areas across its range that are already protected.
Behavior and Ecology
Flocks are usually around 20 birds but can grow to over 50 around fruiting trees or seeding grasses. They are highly social and gregarious. Blue-winged parrotlets tend to feed in groups, usually between 2 and 12 individuals.
Blue-winged parrotlets call while in flight and perched. Their calls are high-pitched "sheet" or "zeet" screeches or twittering. When feeding and socializing in large groups they make twittering and chattering noises.
Blue-winged parrotlets' breeding season is May to August, but occupied nests have been observed in July, January, and March in different areas of the birds' range. Females lay 3-7 small, white, roughly spherical eggs. Some blue-winged parrotlets have been observed to scrape rufous hornero nests (made of clay) with their beaks. Though the reason for this is not entirely clear, nests created by rufous horneros have been used by blue-winged parrotlets to raise their broods, which has led to the suggestion that the parrotlets are "taste-testing" the nest material to determine whether it is suitable, according to unknown standards, for their needs. However, similar studies of other Forpus species have concluded that clay-licking provides important minerals to the birds that otherwise would not be accessible.
Blue-winged parrotlets mostly feed on Cecropia sp. and Ficus sp. fruits, Mikania sp. and Trema micrantha seeds, and Ambrosia sp., Handroanthus serratifolius, and Marcgravia sp. flowers. However, they are known to occasionally feed on other plants such as grass. Blue-winged parrotlets have been known to migrate locally based on the flowering and fruiting seasons of some of the main plants of their diet.