I decided to compare 2 species of parrots (the red breasted musk parrot and the yellow breasted musk parrot) that I saw at the Kula Eco Park in Fiji. There are different species of the musk parrots found on 5 distinct islands in Fiji.
PROSOPEIA PERSONATA (also known as the masked shining parrot)
The yellow breasted musk parrot is commonly found in Viti Levu. It is a large long tailed parrot with vibrant green plumage with a yellow breast and belly. Around its eyes and beak there is black, and they have blue feathers at the tips of their wings. Their tails are green with a blue wash, and is darker underneath. They average 45cm in size and normally nest between June and October.
The yellow breasted musk parrot can be found in mangroves or wet mountain forests. They live in large groups and they are very noisy.
PROSOPEIA TABUENSIS (also known as the masked shining parrot)
The red breasted musk parrot is commonly found in Kadavu. Similar description to the yellow breasted, but the red breasted has a red/black face and the rest of the head is brown/red. They also have a dark blue collar across upper mantle which is obvious in some of the birds, but in others it is almost absent. Their tail is green but in some their tails are edged with maroon.
The red breasted musk parrots are versatile and can be found in mangroves or fruit trees. They are also popular house pets and are highly prized in aviculture.
A few red breasted birds from one island were flying around the fruit trees together playing a game of tag. They then ended up getting lost and landed on another Island with wet mountain forests. When they tried to find their way back home but they couldn’t. When they realized that there were no fruit trees on this island, they learned how to adapt to the new island. When they adapted to the new food and new environment, they started to change. Then as they started laying their eggs and having their own babies, they started to evolve. As they continued to change they changed genetically and the lineage split which then let to speciation of the yellow breasted musk parrots. Perhaps there was a change in colour from red to yellow because the food that the red parrots ate from the fruit trees helped keep them red, and when they flew over to the new island that specific food wasn’t available; causing them to genetically mutate.