4 RING-NECKED PARA­KEET

Bird Watching (UK) - - Destination London -

There is one species in London which, on first en­coun­ter­ing it, makes you rub your eyes in dis­be­lief. This bird looks (and sounds) like it flew straight out of a trop­i­cal for­est. In­deed, that is the na­tive habi­tat of the Ring-necked Para­keet. The species has a wide nat­u­ral range across the forests of Africa and Asia. How these birds ended up in London is a pop­u­lar topic of de­bate; some say Jimi Hen­drix re­leased a pair call­ing them Adam and Eve. Oth­ers be­lieve sev­eral were re­leased dur­ing film­ing for The African Queen in Isle­worth. These are real ‘Mar­mite’ birds, at­tract­ing both ad­mi­ra­tion and dis­dain. One thing is for sure; the sight of thou­sands of para­keets com­ing in to roost is now one of London’s big­gest wildlife spec­ta­cles. The roost at Worm­wood Scrubs is well worth a visit, es­pe­cially in the mid­dle of win­ter.

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