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Carolina parakeet facts for kids

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Carolina parakeet
Conservation status
Extinct  (1918?)
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Conuropsis carolinensis
Linneaus, 1758

The Carolina parakeet is an extinct species of parrot.

It was the last parrot type to have lived before the European conquest in the eastern United States. It was found from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico, and lived in old woods along rivers.

The last wild Carolina parakeet was killed in Okeechobee County in Florida in 1904, and the last bird kept by people died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918. This was the male bird called "Incas", who died within a year of his mate "Lady Jane". It was not until 1939, however, that it was agreed that all the Carolina parakeets had died.

At some date between 1937 and 1955, three parakeets looking like this sort of bird were seen and recorded on videotape in the Okefenokee Swamp of Georgia. However, the American Ornithologists Union thought that they had probably recorded escaped pets. Additional sightings were recorded in Okeechobee County in Florida until the end of the 1920s.

Reasons for extinction

The Carolina parakeet died out for a number of reasons. To make space for more farms, large areas of forest were cut down, taking away its living space. The colorful feathers (green body, yellow head, and red around the bill) were in demand as decorations in ladies' hats, and the birds were kept as pets. Even though the birds were bred easily in captivity, little was done to make sure enough birds were bred to avoid their dying out. Finally, they were killed in large numbers because farmers thought they were pests.

Another reason that led to their extinction was that, unfortunately, they liked to return in large flocks to places where some of them had just been killed. This led to even more being shot by hunters as they gathered about the wounded and dead members of the flock.

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