Marc Schlossman


Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis). Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. FMNH catalogue no. 40273. Conservation status: extinct. The Carolina Parakeet was the only indigenous parrot in North America. As its forest habitat was cleared in the 1800s and crops planted in its range in the eastern United States, the Carolina Parakeet began to feed on cultivated fruit in addition to its staple diet of fruits and seeds of trees and plants, especially cocklebur. Farmers exterminated the birds as agricultural pests in fields and orchards. Their task was made easier by the highly social parakeets flock behaviour of returning to where birds had been killed or injured. By the mid-1800s the species was rare. The remaining population was restricted to Florida; the last sightings were made in the early 1900s. Ironically, by then the remnant flocks in Florida were tolerated by farmers and hunting for their colourful decorative feathers had stopped. It is thought that disease and competition from honeybees for tree nesting cavities were the final causes of extinction. The last Carolina Parakeets died in 1918 in Cincinnati Zoo, in the same aviary where the last Passenger Pigeon had died four years earlier.

Object Name
Marc Schlossman
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24.11 x 36.31 cm (300 dpi)
9.49 x 14.29 inch (300 dpi)
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