By Joseph M. Forshaw
Also known as the Princess of Wales parakeet, the Princess parrot is widely acclaimed as among the most exquisitely colored of all parrots. For years, I found captive birds unappealing, for invariably they were inactive. I came to appreciate the elegant beauty of these parrots only after realizing that I had not seen them exhibited fittingly. In a spacious, walk-though aviary at a tourist establishment in Canberra, Australia, I watched a small flock in swift, graceful flight, pausing regularly atop highly positioned dead branches to call loudly before resuming their flight on a circular path high overhead and then at times sweeping down below the viewing platform.
The flight is remarkably swift and direct, with seemingly effortless beats of the narrow, backward-swept wings producing the streamlined silhouette so characteristic of Polytelis parrots, and the long central tail-feathers forming trailing streamers. As a parrot takes to the air, its tail is thrust up and forward, thus displaying the pink undertail. Prior to alighting on the ground, the bird seems to pause momentarily in the air before dropping with a fluttering of wings. Long-distance flight is at a considerable height, but short flights usually are near to the ground.
**For the full article, pick up the September 2008 issue of BIRD TALK**
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