Blue-winged Racket-tail (Prioniturus verticalis)

Blue-winged Racket-tail

Blue-winged Racket-tail

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Prioniturus verticalis | [authority] Sharpe, 1893 | [UK] Blue-winged Racket-tail | [FR] Palette des iles Sulu | [DE] Sulu-Spatelschwanzpapagei | [ES] Lorito Momoto de las Sulu | [NL] Sulu-vlagstaartpapegaai | [copyright picture] Birdife


Monotypic species


The taxonomy of racquet-tail parrots, genus Prioniturus, has been often revised with nine species recognised. Six species are endemic to the Philippines, of which three are threatened with extinction. Indonesia, with three species, is the only other country where Prioniturus occur. The island of Buru is home to a single endemic species that is classified as near threatened. The remaining two species, the Golden-mantled Racquet-tail P. platurus and the Yellowish-breasted Racquet-tail P. flavicans both occur on Sulawesi. P. platurus is distributed across the entire island and has the greater altitudinal range of the two species. In contrast, P. flavicans is endemic to the northern peninsula and immediately adjacent offshore islands. It is currently classified as near threatened. Very little is known of the ecology of any Prioniturus species, with data on nesting and breeding behaviour virtually unrecorded. Available information comes from the few nests that have been identified, sightings of juveniles, and the breeding condition of specimen birds.

Physical charateristics

Green parrot with racquet-like tail extensions. Whitish-grey bill. Bright green head, with bright blue crown. Male has large red spot in centre of crown. Rest of body yellowish-green, darkest on wings, with bluish wash to inner and outer webs of all primaries. Outer tail feathers tipped black and tail spatules also blackish. Similar spp. Possibly confusable with Tanygnathus parrots, but smaller, appearing shorter-tailed (except for racquets which can be difficult to see) and has pale (not red) bill (female T sumatranus has white bill also but bill is much larger).

Listen to the sound of Blue-winged Racket-tail

[audio: Racket-tail.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Desmond Allen

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 32 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
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Oriental Region : Philippines. Prioniturus verticalis is endemic to the Sulu archipelago in the Philippines, where it is known from six islands.


It inhabits forests, including mangroves, which provide roosting and foraging (and potentially nesting) sites, and also frequents forest edge and degraded forest, but not cultivated areas away from forest.


One nest found in a lrge broken palm tree near rainforest. No further data

Feeding habits

Little known of habits; birds seen in pairs in high flight over canopy, noisy in flight, but difficult to detect while feeding. Tame and easily approached. Feeding in fruiting trees.


This parrot qualifies as Endangered because it has a very small and fragmented range and population which continue to decline. Furthermore, it is predicted to undergo a very rapid population reduction in the near future based on the declines observed in the past and a decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat. Without immediate conservation intervention, it may soon qualify as Critically Endangered.
Virtually no primary forest remains on the islands of Sibutu and little forest on Sanga-sanga. By the mid-1990s, rapid clearance of primary forest on Tawitawi had rendered remaining lowland patches highly degraded, with plans to replace even these with oil-palm plantations. Logging of the few remaining tracts, now confined to rugged mountainous areas, is likely to be followed by uncontrolled settlement and conversion to agriculture. The tameness of this parrot, combined with high local gun ownership, have made it an easy target in the past.
Blue-winged Racket-tail status Endangered


No data, but probably resident

Distribution map

Blue-winged Racket-tail distribution range map

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