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Red-masked Parakeet Psittacara erythrogenys

Nicholas P. Kalodimos
Version: 1.0 — Published February 22, 2013

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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From individuals of a wild population present for over 30 years on O'ahu, Hawai'i:

Warning/alarm call - a rapidly repeated nasal and tinny-sounding "eh, eh, eh, eh"; sometimes in vocal sequences, with pauses between sequences when less agitated and nearly continuous vocalization, with less than 1/2 second between "eh", when highly agitated.  Often the first "eh" of a sequence will be rreh, e.g., "rreh, eh, eh, eh". Loudness and frequency greater and pitch higher with increased perceived threat.

Soft warning call - used especially while foraging when a predator is spotted; a low volume muffled buzzing "eeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrr...." or "eeeooooooooooooo...." given by usually one bird (the one who has detected the danger).  Usually used when a predator is within view (likely used to avoid alerting a predator to the flock's presence when cryptically concealed in a leafy tree canopy).

Agitation/action precursor call - A grating, raspy, punctuated "rrRA" call, fast in duration (ca 1 s); calls well spaced and random.  Mainly given by flock members in response to a intruding stimulus or pre-takeoff.  Frequency of its use usually mirrors the stress/threat level of the surrounding environment.  These calls become more frequent as a human obsever or another intrusion becomes closer to the birds, after which the high intensity alarm call replaces it. Given by flock members before taking off (likely to synchronize a departure).  When slowed down in playback it sounds very much like a large macaw's, Ara spp., vocalization.

Contact call - there are a few different variations, but usually disyllabic, rapid, high-pitched and nasal: 1. ke-REE! 2. k'li-UP! 3. k'li-EH!, 4. e'ha-EK!  Most commonly given with well spaced time intervals.

Socialialization, courtship, play "song" - lengthy, rapid, hiccuping, chortle made up of mechanical-sounding contact calls of rapidling changing inflections "hickupy-kihikupy-hikupihy-ke-kihikupy-hickupy....."; can commonly last ten or more seconds usually associated with agonistic interactions such as play-fighting, courtship, posturing, etc.

Flock flight calling - same as the high intensity alarm call interspersed with contact calling. Most individuals in a flock vocalize, however small flocks of up to seven birds may fly silently.

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Red-masked Parakeet can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

At close range, wing strokes produce a whirring sound, especially at takeoff but also in level flight.

Recommended Citation

Kalodimos, N. P. (2013). Red-masked Parakeet (Psittacara erythrogenys), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.rempar.01