THE GREATER VASA PARROT – MODERN DAY DINOSAUR I chose this species because I know nothing about this bird. So we can all learn from this profile. The Greater Vasa Parrot (Coreopsis vasa) is one of the most unusual parrots in the world. From Madagascar and surrounding islands, these crow/pigeon/dinosaur-like birds, are of great interest to both the aviculturist and the pet bird owner. Unlike some species of parrots where it is more common to have an aggressive male, it is the female who is the more dangerous of the two. She is very demanding of her mate, expecting his full attention. This means being fed and mated with upon demand. If the male is disinterested she will chase him relentlessly until he gives in, feeds her and flies off. Serious cases of mate trauma have been observed in breeding pairs. To ease the tension and help prevent this aggression, some aviculturists will house two males to one female. There is also a lesser vasa parrot the (C. nigra) that is common to humid forests. Life expectancy for both species is 30 years or more. They are known as quiet birds except for breeding season. THE UNUSUAL In addition to their appearance they possess aspects of their physiology that make them completely unique amongst parrots. The babies are known to hatch in just 18 to 20 days, compared to 26 to 28 days for most medium-sized parrots. The skin of both female and male Vasas turns yellow during the breeding season, most likely from a chemical change. AS PETS Vasa Parrot owners are very enthusiastic about their pet birds, which they deem to be "the best birdie companion around!" They require spacious accommodation and lots of toys. Owners describe their pets as fun, mischievous and very intelligent. They are not good talkers but very good at taking apart puzzles and mechanical toys. Greater vasa parrots are extremely active birds and they are avid eaters — they need a great deal of food and will eat every bit of it. Greater vasa parrots will take all kinds of baths: water baths, sun baths and dirt baths. A large variety of pet bird toys is essential for greater vasa parrots in order to chew enough and to keep mentally and physically busy. They do best in an aviary, where they can fly swiftly, stretch and play enough to accommodate their active nature and size. Vasas make a loving and intelligent pet. Vasa Parrots love to be held and petted and love attention. They are very devoted to their owners. Vasa parrots are rare in aviculture, although they are occasionally available as pets at avian specialty stores and bird breeders. Because this parrot is rare the cost is rather high. D.A.