The Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus), also known as catorra or cocota, is a parrot in the Psittacidae family. The Monk Parakeet is native to subtropical and temperate regions of South America. They are found in the pampas to the east of the Andes in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil to the region of Patagonia in Argentina. The Monk Parakeet is also known in Brazil by catorra, cocota, parakeet barroso, chat white and other names depending on the region.
Not considered to be threatened, although the local and international trade affects their natural populations.
The parakeets have green feathers on the back, contrasting with the belly, chest, throat and gray forehead. The nozzle is small and orange. Chest, the plumage is flaky and wings and tail feathers have long bluish. Adult parakeets have 28 to 33 cm in total length.
The feeding of parakeets consists of fruits, vegetables, seeds of shrubs and grasses, flowers and buds.
Reproduces between July and December. The Monk Parakeet is the only species of parrot that builds its own nest. All other group members (parrots, macaws, etc.) nest in hollow tree holes, gullies or termite mounds. Parakeets couples the nest with the rest of his band and can train community nests with no more than a meter in diameter and 200 kg. Nests are closed cylindrical structures, attached to the neighboring nests through the outer walls. The parakeets build nests with twigs, in the upper branches of different types of trees. The nests are used year-round. When not in the reproductive period, parakeets use them to sleep or as protection in case of storms. The parakeets reaches over 11 eggs per clutch, and about 7 of the young can reach adulthood.
Dwells mainly in dry forests, gallery, plantations and urban areas, up to 1000 m. The subspecies M. m. luchsialcança up to 3000 m.
The parakeets are gregarious birds, not migratory. Flying in pairs or bands 15 to 50 individuals or in greater numbers after playback (larger flocks to 100 birds are not uncommon)
In southern Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, the Monk Parakeet is considered pest in corn growing areas and sorghum and orchards. With the disappearance of the forests where they lived, the parakeets started looking for food in cultures that now occupy their natural habitat. With easy food and the gradual extinction of predators, like the hawk, the population of the species increased easily.
The cultivation of eucalyptus, originating in Australia and introduced in Brazil between 1855 and 1870, also has an important role in population explosion of parakeets. The Caturrita found in eucalyptus a perfect place to nest, building nests in the upper branches of eucalyptus (10 meters high), eggs, chicks and adults are very well protected from the attack of their natural enemies and difficult population control by of man.
In other regions, where there is a very extensive grass agriculture, such as the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, the parakeets cause localized damage, but little expression. The presence of natural predators and competing species keeps them in line population levels.
In the United States, escaped copies of captive bred and are now also present in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Virginia, worrying US environmental authorities.
In Europe there are breeding communities, particularly in Spain and Belgium. Were released in the early twentieth century in one of Brussels city parks and you can nowadays find them a significant part of urban green spaces . However begin to emerge possible sightings of the species in other nearby urban areas.