Recommended Reading / Listening

The Atlas of Parrots of the World -- by David Alderton, Graeme Stevenson

Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World --
by Tony Juniper,  Michael Parr, David Johnston, Carl D'Silva

Parrots of the World -- by Joseph Michael Forshaw, William T. Cooper

Voices of New World Parrots -- Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Behavioral Ecology of Tropical Birds -- Bridget J.M. Stutchbury & Eugene S. Morton

Birds of Australia, Sixth Edition -- By Ken Simpson & Nicolas Day

Birds of My Region, Our Birds, Thayer Birding Software

Birds of North America, Kaufman Focus Guides -- Kenn Kaufman, Houghton Mifflin Co.

A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America --
By Steve N.G. Howell & Sophie Webb

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 4th Ed., Mel Baughman & Barbara Brownell, Editors

A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics, Second Edition -- By John C. Kricher

The New York Times Book of Birds -- Nicholas Wade, Editor

Sibley Guide to Birds: Audubon Society Nature Guides Series -- David A. Sibley

Sturkie's Avian Physiology, Fifth Edition -- By G. Causey Whittow

Western Birds, Peterson Field Guides -- Roger Tory Peterson, Houghton Mifflin Co.

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America -- David A. Sibley

The California Parrot Project


Parrot Identification

Report Form


Who we Are



Parrot Project of Bakersfield

Rose-ring News articles

Parakeet Photos

Rose-ringed Parakeet taxonomy



Parrot (and other naturalized inhabitant) Identification

The following types of parrot/keets have been observed flying free in California. Not all of these species have successfully naturalized. The underlined blue words lead to pages describing or photos of these species. Most of these are offsite, please use the back button on your browser to return to this site.

  • PARROT / AMAZONA: big, blocky body with squared tail / "kree" call / flight pattern - wings do not go above horizontal plane
    Much of the time, we do not make any further distinction
  • Red-crowned Parrot Amazona viridigenalis has red forehead and crown, also known as the Green-cheeked Parrot, and the Mexican Redhead. On 31 July 2001, the California Bird Records Committee added the Red-crowned to the official list of California birds as an introduced species.   
  • Lilac-crowned Parrot Amazona finschi has lilac wash on crown; difficult to distinguish from Red-crowned. This is another website on the Lilac-crowned Parrot.
  • Red-lored Parrot Amazona autumnalis has red between the eye and bill; yellow patch on the gape. Red-lored Amazon from the Lexicon of Parrots.
  • Blue-fronted Parrot Amazona aestiva has blue above the bill; yellow present on the top of the head, but it is variable from next to none to almost the whole head.
  • White-fronted Parrot Amazona albifrons has white above the bill
  • Yellow-headed Parrot including Yellow-naped Amazona oratrix see subspecies #9. 
  • PARAKEET / CONURE: slender body with pointed tail / wheezy call / flight pattern where wings go above horizontal plane... flapping flight
    Aratingas are extremely difficult to identify to species in the field. Many times the only distinction is an Aratinga with or without red.
    • Aratinga
      • Mitred Parakeet Aratinga mitrata =conure has red above the bill and red cheek, green body, difficult to distinguish from Red-masked
      • Red-masked Parakeet (red and green) Aratinga erythrogenys =conure has red on crown as well, difficult to distinguish from Mitred except much more red on the bend of the wing
      • Blue-crowned Parakeet Aratinga acuticaudata =conure has some blue above bill, no red, green body; a red or pink wash on underside of tail is diagnostic
    • Nandayus
  • BROTOGERIS: small size /  like parrotlets

    White-winged Parakeet

    How to distinguish between the two by Kimball Garrett. Scroll down to his name.
  • ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET: Psittacula krameri slender body / long pointy tail / fluttery flight / kee ak call  (NOT "Rose-winged Parakeet") Unmistakable. Once you see one and ID it you'll never mistake it for anything else. Check out this page of the research on the Bakersfield flock.
  • OTHER: Cockatoos, macaws,

lovebirds, budgies, cockatiels, etc.

Guides to Introduced Dove, Parrot, and Passerine Identification

  • Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. National Audubon Society. Third edition. pp. 254-261 (doves) 262-266 (parrots) 536-537 (naturalized passerines).
  • 1999.Field Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic Society. Third edition. pp. 234-237 (doves) 240-243 (parrots) 456-457 (naturalized passerines).
  • Juniper, T. and M. Parr. 1998. Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. Yale UP, New Haven.
  • Guide to Pet Birds. Simon and Schuster
  • "The Field Identification of Feral Parrots in Southern California", Western Tanager, Volume 61, Number 8, May 1995, by Kimball Garrett
  • Western Birds, Volume 28, Number 4, 1997, the entire issue is devoted to naturalized parrots in southern California. (ordering information for this issue is found at the Western Birds website)
  • Caution: many field guides simply do not discuss naturalized populations of birds, except for the most common such as Rock Pigeons. 

For more information on the Parrot Project - please contact

For information about this site please E-mail

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