South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Carolina Parakeet

Conuropsis carolinensis

Length: 12 inches Wingspan: 20 inches Seasonality: Was probably a rare visitor
ID Keys: Green plumage overall, orange and yellow on face and neck, long tail 

Carolina Parakeet - Conuropsis carolinensisThe Carolina Parakeet was the only parrot native to the continental United States.  They once ranged from eastern Texas through the Gulf States, commonly reaching southern Virigina and Arkansas, and less commonly being found further north, even as far north as South Dakota.  They preferred deciduous forests and forest edges, and loss of this habitat undoubtedly contributed to their ultimate demise.  They fed on fruits, berries, and seeds, and unfortunately were strongly attracted to agricultural fields and orchards.  Farmers who considered them as agricultural pests shot them on sight.  Traveling in flocks, Carolina Parakeets would often return to the body of an individual bird that had been shot, a habit which contributed to their demise.  The last definite records in the wild were in 1904, and the last captive bird died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918, although there were unconfirmed reports of wild birds through the 1920s..

Habitat: Most often found in wetland forests of the southeastern United States. They would feed in a variety of places, however, including weedy fields, forests, orchards, and agricultural fields.

Diet: Fed primarily on fruits and berries, and seeds, especially of cockleburs and thistles. Considered an agricultural pest as they often fed on planted crops.

Breeding: Wasn't a known breeder in South Dakota

Migration: Unknown.

Similar Species: Was distinctive in U.S. range.

Conservation Status: Extinct.  The last positive record of a wild bird was 1904, and the last one in captivity died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918.  There were unconfirmed reports of sightings through the 1920s.

Further Information: 1) GeorgeHoward.net -- Carolina Parakeet

2) Cornell's All About Birds - Carolina Parakeet

3) Audubon -- Carolina Parakeet

Image Information: Colored pencil drawing - Terry Sohl - December 2011.  Click here for a larger view of the drawing.

 

Click below for a higher-resolution map
Carolina Parakeet - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Extinct.  Map above shows former range.