Racket-tails.

Are you a curious “birder” – I certainly am.

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Whilst I was reviewing the 360 species of Parrots and Cockatoos, to answer a query in my Birds by Habitats and Niches website, my attention was captured by 8 species in genus Prioniturus which are listed as Racket-tailed Parrots.

Like most birders, who have had the opportunity to see birds in places like Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica, my mind jumped to the Motmots as the only racket-tailed birds I have seen.

I photographed the Blue-crowned Motmot (right) in Trinidad.

The information about Racket-tailed Parrots prompted me to search for other racket-tailed birds, about which I was previously unaware. This led to the following list:-

• Racket-tailed Parrots 5 species endemic to the Philippines.

• Racket-tailed Parrots 3 species in Indonesia.

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• Motmots 10 species in Mid and South America – 5 have racket-tails.

• Hummingbirds have the Racket-tailed Coquette and the Booted Racket-tail.

Tom photographed the Booted Racket-tail (below, left) in Ecuador.

• Drongos of Africa & Asia include Lesser and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos.

• Rollers in Africa have one species which has a racket tail.

These are all birds of the woodlands and forest which are to be found in specific tropical regions of the world.

The fact that they are listed in five different families causes me to think about how the genes responsible for evolution of birds with racket-tails could be caused to re-appear in families which are not directly related to each other.

Perhaps more about these thoughts later.

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