Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Carolina Parakeet - Conuropsis carolinensis
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General Comments The extinction of this unique parrot -- no other species were placed in its genus -- is every bit as painful as that of the Passenger Pigeon, but for different reasons. Whereas the pigeon was mostly slaughtered out of existence for shooting practice, and partly for human food, the Carolina Parakeet was slaughtered because of its fondness for fruit, often damaging farmers' crops. What is most disturbing, however, is that this was the only member of the 300+ species of parrots (Order Psittaciformes) around the world that was native to the continental United States. Many dozens of very rare parrots and parakeets have managed to survive on small tropical islands, on small isolated mountain ranges in South America, etc. Yet, "our" only parrot is gone. The Carolina Parakeet was last reported in the state in the 1800's, though records are poorly documented. The last known specimen died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918, but rumors of its presence in some swamps persisted for several more decades. Its range in the state was poorly known, though presumably it occurred mainly in the Coastal Plain, being mostly an inhabitant of swamps and bottomlands (for nesting, in cavities), though it foraged widely, even into croplands and orchards.
Breeding Status Extinct; Former Breeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SX
Global Rank GX
Coastal Plain No recent records (see above).
Piedmont No recent records (if any ever recorded).
Mountains No recent records (if any ever recorded).
Finding Tips
Attribution LeGrand[2012-06-24], LeGrand[2011-12-07], LeGrand[2011-07-08]