BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 36

feature Early depictions of the parrot trade in European art For millennia, parrots have played a vital role in human culture, as companions, and as emblems of curiosity and wealth. Indeed, our voracious interest in keeping these charismatic birds has driven a worldwide trade that has put many species at serious risk of extinction in the wild. Most diverse in the tropics, parrots seem to epitomise all the bravado, colour and noise of countries like Brazil that, in the early 16th century, was often referred to as Brasilia sive terra papa-gallorum, or the ‘Land of Parrots’. John Fanshawe The parrot family is large, with the Handbook of Birds of the World BirdLife list recognising 399 extant species, and there is an extraordinary range of species, from macaws to pygmy-parrots. They include the genus Cacatua, 12 species of 36 birdlife • Jan-Mar 2018