Nanday Parakeet, Nandayus nenday:
Fort Desoto State Park; Saint Petersburg, Florida
The Nanday Parakeet, formerly known as the Black-hooded Parakeet (my favorite name for the bird) is a native bird of southwestern Brazil and northern Argentina. It is a popular bird in the pet trade, and some escaped birds have established a population exceeding 1,000 birds in six county on the west coast of central Florida. There are also escaped populations in the Los Angles area of California, and in San Antonio, Texas. In November 2012, the ABA (American Birding Association added the Nanday Parakeet as a countable species on its Checklist.
I photographed this pair just outside the entrance of Fort Desoto State Park on one of the causeway islands. The birds were quite affectionate with one another, grooming and often touching beaks together. I have seen the birds in this location before, but this was the first opportunity I had to take photos. The only native parrot to United States is the now extinct Carolina Parakeet. The Nanday Parakeet and the Carolina Parakeet are about the same size at about 13 inches in length. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see hundreds or thousands of parakeets perched in a single tree.