An Unusual Parrot from the African Island of Madagascar
This greyish, black African parrot (Corocopsis vasa) is not seen very often as a pet, but I met a friendly, hand-fed, weaned baby at a bird mart recently. The bird was an extremely calm, interested, and sweet parrot. Because of their rarity, Vasa parrots tend to be on the expensive side. They have a striking, almost primitive appearance, as you can see from the photos below. This is probably because they hail from the island of Madagascar and some of the nearby smaller islands off the east coast of Africa. Birds and animals from such isolated land areas tend to evolve differently and change more slowly than those found on large land masses where more varied environmental pressures influence their development.
In the wild they eat nuts and seeds as well as berries and fruits. Of course like most parrot species in the wild, they favor agricultural crops such as millet and corn, so they are considered pests by many farmers. In captivity they should be given a varied diet of seeds, nuts, vegetables, grains, and fruits. They have long necks that can be quite elegant, but some say their appearance reminds them of predatory-type birds such as hawks.
The breeder of the parrot pictured on this page, Steve Garvin, reports that they make good pets and are fascinating birds to keep. One of the most unusual things about Vasa parrots is that their eggs hatch after a mere 18 days of incubation. When you consider that the much smaller lovebird has an incubation of 23 days, this is very unusual!