Friday, August 26, 2011

The Colasisi

photo of a Colasisi in the Sierra Madre

          First off, this is NOT an article about a mistress or a kept woman! This is an article about the Colasisi (Loriculus philippensis), a type of bird found in Ayala Alabang. Gilda Cordero Fernando wrote an article in Inquirer last March 22 about life during the American period. She said that back in the 1930’s the Colasisi was a popular house pet. People would keep them in bamboo cages in the yard so they could watch them sing and “dance”. The Colasisi is a brightly colored and lively bird. It has a vivid orange beak, pretty blue feathers around its eyes, brilliant green body and wings, striking orange legs, and just for added punch, a bright red rump. When an American author during that period wrote a primer for Filipino children called “The Happy Culasisi”, the name of the popular pet bird evolved into a euphemism for a kept woman. The term has persisted until the present day. A friend remembers her mother chiding her by saying, “Para kang colasisi, maraming colorete” (You’re like a colasisi, so made-up”)

            The Colasisi is also known as the Philippine Hanging Parrot. Hanging Parrots are a family of parrots that are only found in Asia. They have the unusual habit of roosting upside down like a bat! The Colasisi is a Philippine endemic, meaning it is only found in the Philippines. It is the smallest of the parrots found in the Philippines. It is found all over the Philippines, in forests, cities, and gardens. The colasisi feeds on flowers as well fruit and flower nectar. In the village, they have been seen feeding on a mango tree.

            Sadly, Colasisis are still popular as house pets today. It is still common to see houses in the provinces that have a bamboo cage with a Colasisi hanging outside. Colasisis are easy to trap. One way to trap them is to put a caged Colasisi next to a trap. The call of the caged Colasisi attracts and lures other Colasisis into the trap. Most Colasisis that are for sale were caught this way and not captive-bred as the seller often claims. Gathering birds from the wild to make into house pets is illegal, cruel to the bird and depletes the wild population. Capturing birds from the wild is not quite the same as catching fish from the seas since there are much less birds than fish, the forests and areas where birds can live are much less than the oceans and places where fish can live, and most birds reproduce at a much slower rate than most fish.

             There are three other parrot species that have been found in the village: the Umbrella Cockatoo, which is a big white bird with a crest and yellow under the wing, the Eclectus Parrot which looks green when perched but reveals a bright red, blue and black coloring under the wing when in flight, and the Rose-Ringed Parakeet which is green and has a long tail. All three of these birds are probably pets that have escaped and manage to survive in the village. The Umbrella Cockatoo is a protected species and an Indonesian endemic, the Eclectus Parrot is also from Indonesia, and the Rose-Ringed Parakeet is originally from South Asia. Unfortunately, pet birds like these that have escaped can be harmful to the native bird populations. They compete with them for food and other resources and may end up displacing them. The four parrot species found in the village draw attention to the illegal wildlife trade and how it harms birds in the wild. All residents of our bird sanctuary village should take heed to the long-running campaign of WildAid that says, “When the buying stops, the killing can too”.

1 comment:

  1. i saw a peddler here in bf resort las pinas selling it, being kept as a pet is harmful because being caught in the wild, it cannot adopt to a caged environment, after several days or weeks they die.. sad ;(