Plant it and they will come! A variety of parrots once escaped from captivity or the pet traders, have enjoyed some of our habitats. But what about the habitat they came from? We cannot save them if we do not know what they eat or where they nest. Not all seeds, flowers, and fruits are the same for them as they are not for us. As you must know by now, I am a vegan and love anything fruit or vegetable. Except for mushrooms, especially when they are cooked, and olives with few that I can tolerate beyond olive oil. If we have the knowledge and use it, we can coexist with some good management practices. In one study it was found that White-fronted Parrots, like my Willow, foraged on 36 plant species in 21 families with 24.1% being non-native or cultivated. Their diet consisted of 37% seeds, 31% fruit, 26% flowers, 5% leaves, and 2% bark. Willow came into Miami in 1992, age unknown. Does she know or remember what is edible in her native world? Well, I happened to buy her some tamarind in the Indian market yesterday. Who knew she just may have found it a pleasant forage treat. Yes, that is Willow with her tamarind. For the curious, here is the list of the species in the study. Just maybe I can introduce some of these species once I get that greenhouse going and Willow’s aviary in the spring. Of course, I will make sure they are not invasive to our area. Sorry for the bad image of Willow but she hates my cell phone so I have to click quick!
Wild Cashew – Anacardium excelsum
Yellow Mombins or Hog Plum – Spondias mombin
Mango – Mangifera indica
Glassywood, ronron, or aroeira – Astronium graveolens
Pawpaw/sugar apple family – Annona sp.
Rosy trumpet tree – Tabebuia rosea
Kapoktree – Ceiba pentandra
Pochote – Bombacopsis quinata
Balsa tree – Ochroma pyramidale
Spanish elm or Ecuador laurel – Cordia alliadora
Turpentine tree or copperwood – Bursera simaruba
Brazilian firetree – Schizolobium parahybum
Maria mole – Senna reticulate
Tamarind – Tamarindus indica
Sansapote – Licania platypus
Indian-almond – Terminalia catappa* (non-native)
Peruvian almond – Terminalia oblonga
Bushwillows – Combretum sp.
Strawberry tree or Jamaican Cherry – Muntingia calabura
Gumtree – Sapium glandulosum
Coral tree or mountain immortelle – Erythrina poeppigiana
Machete, Poro, or Palo Santo – Erythrina costaricensis
Parrot flower – Psittacamthus sp.
Spanish or Cuban cedar – Cedrela odorataLysiloma divaricatum
Guanacaste, caro caro, monkey-ear tree or elephant-ear tree – Enterolobium cyclocarpum
Ice cream-bean, joaquiniquil, cuaniquil, guama or guaba – Inga sp.
Monkey-pod or raintree – Pithecellobium saman
River tamarind – Leucaena leucocephala