Uncovering the Burrowing Parrot's History
European researchers have discovered that the ancestors of the burrowing parrot, which these days lives in Argentina, once dwelt in Chile – on the other side of the high Andes mountains. This suggests that the parrots were able to cross the Andes mountains at altitudes of 3000 metres Scientists are upholding this discovery as an insight into how birds overcome natural barriers and adapt to new habitats, leading in itself to new approaches to conservation – in Chile for example, many burrowing parrots are caught and then sold on as pets, leading to a huge drop in the numbers there; whereas in Argentina there are only 2000 breeding pairs left in the wild. Burrowing parrots are very colourful birds that breed in colonies situated high up in cliffs. The colonies are usually located along rivers and in the valleys at both sides of the Andes, as well as along the cliffs of the Atlantic coast.