London: The world’s smallest parrot, which is not much bigger than an adult person’s thumb, has been filmed in the wild for the first time.
According to a report by BBC News, an expedition team filming in Papua New Guinea for the BBC programme ‘Lost Land of the Volcano’ caught two of the buff-faced pygmy parrots on camera.
Another adult, which weighs less than half an ounce, was also trapped by the expedition team’s bird expert.
On average, buff-faced pygmy parrots (Micropsitta pusio) stand less than 9cm tall and weigh 11.5g (0.41oz).
They are found across the northern lowlands of the island of New Guinea from the west to the southeastern tip, up to an altitude of around 800m.
Males and females look similar, but females have less prominent markings on the head.
The birds have green feathers with yellowish plumage on their underparts; while their cheeks, face, and crown are more buff-coloured, hence their name.
BBC wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan first discovered a tiny nest belonging to two parrots deep within pristine rainforest.
The birds nest in termite mounds, using their beaks and claws to dig their way in before laying eggs in the hole created.
Buchanan staked out the nest from within a camouflaged hide, and was rewarded after a long wait when two birds returned.
He filmed the pair at their nest entrance, as the male and female reinforced their bond by rubbing against one another.
Later, another parrot was trapped unharmed by Dr Jack Dumbacher, an ornithologist from the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, US, who had accompanied the BBC expedition team.
Buff-faced pygmy parrots do not eat fruit and nuts but lichen and fungi.
However, so little is still known about their dietary habits that it has proved difficult to rear the birds in captivity.