During the ten years I lived in London, one of the few guaranteed species on my morning walk to work was Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri, and I rather enjoyed the daily splash of colour these birds gave. Visits to Madrid have always been livened up by Monk Parakeets Myiopsitta monachus, which, in the city’s parks, feed on dropped breadcrumbs like Feral Pigeons Columba livia. And, I admit, I went out of my way to see Alexandrine Parakeets P. eupatria when I was in Amsterdam and Nanday Aratinga nenday and Mitred Parakeets Psittacara mitratus in Barcelona. All-in-all, it’s hard to hide the fact that I do rather like these out-of-place parrots, and I was therefore eager to read Naturalized Parrots of the World. Sadly, I was left cold.
This book is a well-edited, authoritative reference on the subject; but it is far from a book aimed at birders. The content is specialised, heavily referenced and, although clear and understandable in its delivery, can be rather dry. Each chapter is essentially a mini illustrated paper on topics as diverse as the genetics of parrot populations and decision-making models and management of Monk Parakeets (which includes a full page of formulae used to determine recruitment of individuals into the breeding population). Arguably, the most interesting section for me was that comprising five pages detailing species that had been recorded at large in Europe. That said, a considerable amount of the data on populations and distribution is taken from elsewhere, such as the ‘Non-native breeding birds in the UK’ reports (e.g. Brit. Birds 110: 92–108) or eBird, and anyone who has maintained an interest in any given species is unlikely to find anything that surprises in the data presented.
If you’re a parrot researcher, or working on the ecology or conservation of areas where naturalised parrots are part of the avifauna, don’t let this review put you off as this book will likely prove invaluable; but for most BB readers, the content may prove too narrow in its scope to be of any great interest.