Non-native parrots have become a very present and boisterous element of the urban ecosystems throughout Southern California. Ranging from cities to more natural areas, parrots can be found in a variety of habitats where they coexist with people. Through the Free-Flying Los Angeles Parrot Project (FLAPP) on iNaturalist, we created a dataset focused on two of the more prominent species in Southern California, the Red-crowned and Lilac-crowned Parrots. After being introduced through the illegal pet trade, these sister-species have established their populations and even created mixed-species flocks that would not be possible otherwise. Originally from opposite coasts of Mexico, these parrots are model organisms for answering questions on range shifts and hybridization because of the unique displacement that has led to their coexistence. Our research has focused on distinguishing the two species based on morphological features, comparing the environmental conditions between their respective native ranges and their introduced range, and we are now shifting to understanding how their genetic makeup has been affected. Join us to learn how you can help contribute to our research from your own neighborhoods!
Join FLAPP on iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/free-flying-los-angeles-parrot-project
Brenda Ramirez is a research technician for the Free-Flying Los Angeles Parrot Project at the Moore Lab of Zoology at Occidental College. Having recently graduated with her master’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona, Brenda has experience working with large community science datasets and incorporating them into spatial models to understand species distributions over thousands of years.