The Carolina parakeet was America’s only native parrot. It once ranged over most of the United States east of the great plains.
The birds preferred to roost in hollow trees, usually deep in the heart of a swamp forest.
The Carolina parakeet was a member of the conure family. They appeared somewhat similar to the Jenday conure. →
The Carolina parakeets’ bodies were bright green, with a yellow head splashed with brilliant orange. From head to tail, they were about twelve inches long.
The Carolina parakeets’ beaks were sharp and quite strong for their size, apparently for opening tough-shelled seeds, such as the cocklebur.
Although Carolina parakeets preferred to eat cockleburs, when these were not available, the birds would flock to farmers’ orchards and fields, rapidly destroying the precious crops. Farmers could easily retaliate: when one member of the flock was shot, the others would fly around over their fallen companion instead of leaving for safety. In this manner, the entire flock could easily be destroyed.
The Carolina parakeet’s eggs were light greenish white in color. Many females laid their eggs together, with each laying two or three.
Carolina parakeets would occasionally breed in captivity, but seldom with much success.
The last known pair of Carolina parakeets were called “Incas” and “Lady Jane.” They lived in the Cincinnati Zoo for some 35 years. In the late summer of 1917, Lady Jane passed away, leaving her mate listless and mournful. Alone, and the last of his kind, Incas quietly “died of grief” on February 21, 1918.