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Tanygnathus sumatranus  -  Blue-backed Parrot

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Müller Pair

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Müller at 2 years

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his medium sized member of the Tanygnathus genus is found naturally occurring in the islands of Sulewesi, Sangir, Talaud, and the Philippines. Their habitat is usually in the lowlands and lower montane forests. The Müller's’s parrot is noticeably smaller than the great-billed parrot, but larger than the Philippine Blue-naped parrot.  I would consider their size to be compared to the lilac - crowned amazon, weighing approximately 300 grams. 

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Müller blue-back

These birds are not as colorful or patterned as the great-billed or blue-naped parrots.  But, the blue on their lower back, rump, and wing bend is pronounced, especially in the mature males. There is a distinct “lacing” of yellow-green on the wing coverts. The mature Müller’s parrots are sexually dimorphic, the bill of the male being orange-red, and the female being a horn color.  This difference in color is not evident until the birds are over a year old.

 

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Müller 11 months

The young males begin to change bill color after 10 months old, with a gradual changeover to full red bills by about 18 months of age. The hens have a larger bare skin area around the eyes.

The diet of the Müller’s parrot is basically the same as the other Tanygnathus parrots, with a need for extra seed and nuts in their daily diet.  They don’t seem as willing or able to crack the bigger nuts, but do relish the peanuts, almonds, and molucca nuts.  Although, there is pellet in our basic sprout mix, the percentage is low.

The Müller’s parrots usually mature between 3 and 4 years old.  The hen does have the tendency to be aggressive to the male.  There should be 2 bowls of food, so that the hen does not prevent the male from eating. Our proven pair does not show that behavior. I have never observed the male entering the nestbox.  Generally, the hen will lay 2-3 eggs.  However, we have only ever had 2 live hatches per clutch. The incubation period is  25- 26 days. 

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Müller at 1 day

The babies are born with white fuzz. They generally wean in 3 1/2 to 4 months. At weaning, they are very playful and vocal, definitely responding to activiity or noise around them. Although, we have not raised any of the babies to be pets, I feel that they could become interactive pet birds with some speaking ability. 

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Müller pinfeathers

Every one of our Müller’s parrots make distinct and different vocalizations... some being loud and harsh, but other sounds being almost comical.  I can not describe some of the sounds that the Müller’s have made, but if there is a strange, unrecognizable sound  - I know that it is coming from one of the Müller’s. The one other observation that we have noticed here on the farm, is that these little guys seem more resilient than the other Tanygnathus.

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Müller at 5 weeks

We are not sure if this is because there are so few of them to observe, or if they really are more hardy.  We have only experienced one case of mate aggression (they were separated before any real injuries occurred) and one of frostbitten toes.  I’’m looking forward to many happy, healthy clutches of these little guys.

--Cathi Graham     Hill Country Aviaries

 


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