The brown-backed parrotlet is a species that goes by a number of different names, include the black eared parrotlet, Wied's parrotlet and the black backed parrotlet. The species is, like most parrotlet birds, a small species of parrot, averaging around 6 inches (15 centimeters) in height. The species lives in Southeastern Brazil with a range between Bahia and the southern end of Sao Paulo. Little is known of the species, and it has been studied mostly in the low set montane evergreen forests of its range. It generally lives at a height of between 500 to 1,200 meters (1,600 to 3,900 feet), but in other parts of its range, particularly tie Itatiaia National Park, it goes as high as 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) while elsewhere in Bahia and Sao Paulo, it is found very near to sea level.
The brown-backed parrotlet is a mystery to most scientists. Many researchers suspect seasonal migrations or seasonal dispersals, but other researchers believe these behaviors are little more than short movements between altitudes rather than true migration or dispersal. Its diet is mostly unknown, but it subsists heavily the larger leguminous seeds and a variety of fruits, particularly the fruit of the clusia plants, as well as the fruits of parasitic mistletoe plants native to its lands. Observations of the bird eating clusia fruits are few and somewhat inclusive. Even the species' breeding season is unknown for certain, though some research hints that the breeding season is between the months of September and October. The main difference between young birds and older birds of these species is the coloration of their orbital ring (which is paler in younger birds) and the color of their cere (older birds have a dark grey cere, while younger birds have a more flesh colored cere).
The coloration of these birds is quite vivid despite the species' shyness, and gets its name from the dark brown back feathers, mantle feathers and tertial feathers. Brown and black feathers also occur around the scapulars, while most of the rest of the rest of the bird is a bright green color, with noticeable blue and red feathers around the wings. It lives most of its life in the upper canopies of the forests it lives in, making its study difficult to say the least. However, its calls are quite distinctive, and have a number of rattling notes that have allowed experienced locals of the region to identify the birds without seeing them.
Never a common bird, even two hundred years ago, the species is listed on the IUCN's Red List as Endangered. The species is never found in captivity barring the illicit wild bird trade that is outlawed under a number of national and international conventions and laws forbidding the trapping and keeping of birds so critically endangered. Given as so little is known about the species, even capturing one (a highly unlikely event in and of itself) will typically lead to the parrot dying before it can even be put in a human cage.
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