Horned parakeet

The horned parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus) is a species of parrot in the genus Eunymphicus, in the family Psittaculidae. It is a medium-sized parrot endemic to New Caledonia. It is called "horned" because it has two black feathers that protrude from the head and have red tips.

Horned parakeet
Horned Parakeet 3487 Copyright TP ONG.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittaculidae
Genus: Eunymphicus
E. cornutus
Binomial name
Eunymphicus cornutus
(Gmelin, 1788)


Adult birds usually measure approximately 32 cm (or about 14 inches) in length, including the tail. Like many parrots, the horned parakeet is primarily green in color. This parrot has a yellowish nape with a black and red face and bluish wings and tail. Its most striking feature is a two-feather black crest, with the crest feathers tipped in red.

Social ecologyEdit

It preferentially selects rainforest and laurel forest habitat, but will accept scrublands or savannah. It lives in humid pine forests on New Caledonia, especially when Agathis and Araucaria pines are present.

Small family groups, or pairs, will forage in the canopy for their diet of nuts and seeds.

It makes a nasal "kho-khoot" contact call, and also makes a wide range of shrieks and chuckles.

Horned parakeets will nest either on or near the ground, and also in hollowed-out logs, or nest hollows in dead trees. Uncommon among parrots, horned parakeets have been reported nest-sharing. The number of eggs laid is usually 2–4. Incubation lasts 21–22 days (in captivity) and the time from hatching to fledging is approximately 5 to 6 weeks (again, in captivity).[2]


This bird has declined since the 1880s, but it is still found in some range on New Caledonia and recent population estimates believe that there are over 5000 birds left.

Main threats to the horned parakeet are the black rat, the wildcat, the introduced Rusa deer, logging, La Nina (wet) years, and Psittacine beak and feather disease, a severe virus which is known to affect ~42 species of parrots.[3] Humans poaching the birds for local trade is rare, because the birds' nests are difficult to find, and more importantly, there are no ingrained local customs regarding keeping birds as pets.[4]

Legal statusEdit

The horned parakeet is listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable, due to their restricted range and small, declining population size. These parrots are listed as CITES I as of year 2000, meaning all international commerce regarding the species is prohibited. In 2014, the European Union listed the species as Annex A, which means all intra-EU trade is prohibited. The parrots are also fully protected under New Caledonian law.[5]


In 1998, it was found through DNA studies that Eunymphicus cornutus, the horned parakeet, and Eunymphicus uvaeensis, the Ouvea parakeet, were two separate species.[6]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Eunymphicus cornutus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Horned parakeet videos, photos and facts - Eunymphicus cornutus". ARKive. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  3. ^ Parque, Loro. "Conservación de los periquitos endémicos de Nueva Caledonia | Loro Parque Fundación". www.loroparque-fundacion.org. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  4. ^ "Horned Parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus) - BirdLife species factsheet". www.birdlife.org. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  5. ^ "Species+". www.speciesplus.net. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  6. ^ "Horned Parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus) - BirdLife species factsheet". www.birdlife.org. Retrieved 2016-02-28.