The Upside-Down World of The Hanging Parrot

Published on: 01/10/2022

DSC 0936a

Photo title: Vernal Hanging Parrot


Photo Credits: Gowri Subramanya

You don’t have to be an experienced bird watcher to spot parakeets -- long-tailed parrots that have seemingly taken over the world with their noisy chatter and squawky mimicry of human voices. You find them in city parks, farms, orchards, in cages and aviaries, even on the city streets waiting to tell your fortune. Whether they are flying overhead in large flocks or fidgeting around as a captive bird, their gregariousness knows no bounds. Parrots of the world have always drawn attention to themselves, most conspicuously with their bright plumage. As if the visual splash they make is not enough, their collective chatter shakes the world out of slumber. But not all parrots are noisy or eye-catching, bright plumage notwithstanding.


Welcome to the world of the hanging parrot, where most parrot rules seem to turn upside down. This world is confined to mostly forests of India and Southeast Asia, where you find 14 species of hanging parrots, one of which is native to the Western and Eastern Ghats and the eastern Himalayas in India – the Vernal Hanging Parrot (Loriculus vernalis).

DSC 0951b

Photo title: Vernal Hanging Parrot


Photo Credits: Gowri Subramanya

To an untrained eye, the vernal hanging parrot can seem like a baby parrot on its day out, a diminutive bird that seemingly sneaked out of its comfy nest while the parents were away at work. Bright green with an orange beak, it stalks its way through foliage barely making a sound. Unlike its bigger relatives, this parrot can’t ‘talk’. Or won’t. Although it seems quite happy to mimic other frugivorous birds with whom it shares fruiting trees. Blending in with the community while foraging, joining in their songs, perhaps, adds an extra layer of safety and comfort. For this tiny bird, mimicry is of as much value as effective camouflage as it is a social bonding exercise.


Until I first saw this parrot in the wild, the name “hanging” parrot always puzzled me. Seriously, though, have you watched a Rose-ringed Parakeet intently dangling from a branch, upside down, stretching its neck to that particular juicy mango? Or when it gingerly plods its way down the Peacock flower (Caesalpinia sp.) shoots, carefully rotating itself until it can reach the pods, snip a pod away with the beak, while suspended from the slender branch? What is so different about the hanging action of the Vernal Hanging Parrot?

It’s about as different as the posture of a window-cleaner from a trapeze artist.

One moment, the Vernal Hanging Parrot is picking at a fruit, upright and proud. In a blink, it’s swinging down from the same spot sucking nectar from a flower. And if the spot feels snug and quiet enough, it might even take a nap in the middle of lunch. The bird gets its name not just by how deftly it can swing upside down, but also that it’s so skilled, that it can do it in its sleep – the only bird family to sleep like a bat! What’s more, according to a study by Francine G. Buckley, Hanging Parrots even swing upside down and pretend to fall asleep, when they sense a threat.

Playing dead to save your life is boring. The Hanging Parrot prefers going batty. After all, as shy and quiet as the Loriculus is, it’s got to live up to the family name of ‘Parrot’.

the people option 4 1 of 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.Quis ipsum

the people option 2 1 of 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, maecenas accusman lacus vel facilisis


Gowri Subramanya

Gowri Subramanya is an editor and learning consultant based in Bengaluru, India. Writing and photography are her chosen tools of creative expression and the wilderness is her muse. A keen observer of the interaction between nature and culture, she loves to explore the history as well as the natural history of new places during her travels. With a soft spot for bird songs and a weakness for flowers, she indulges in a healthy dose of tree gazing every morning.

coffee spice more option 1 1 of 1


the people option 3 1 of 1


Coorg Home Filters

GSC 6158

Mountain Dweller: The Blue-capped Rock Thrush


The Spice Route: How spices changed the world


Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight

DSC 0951b


10685477 803891233006240 6938362231288327194 n

The Virajpet Clock Tower


A Coorg Bride’s Trousseau


The World of Warblers


What’s Cooking: A Day with the Chef

DSC 8539

Barbet Battleground


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Vazhachundum Thoran


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Mezze Platter


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Grilled Pork Ribs


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Pazham Puzhungiyathu


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Peppercorn chocolate mousse


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Kabsah Laham Bis


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Vazhakanda Thoran


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Banana Bajji


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Pazham pori


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Joojeh – e – Koobideh


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Vegetable Kurma


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Idiyappam


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Appam


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Kadamputtu


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Pandi Curry


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Kerala Fish Curry


Nalknad Palace – off the beaten track in Coorg

1 (2)

Mother Goddess Kaveri

Red-whiskered Bulbul

(Not) The Garden Variety Bulbul

3. Pandi Curry

Pandi Curry – the Emperor of Kodava Cuisine

GSC 5425

Under the veil of rain and darkness

 MG 0010

Kodava Brides – keepers of tradition

Coffee Museum

Designing the Sidapur Coffee and Culture Museum

JTR1 DSC 0095

Special Ingredients of Kodava Cuisine

The purple liquid

The Purple Elixir – Maddh Thopp


Chikka Veerarajendra of Coorg and his Thirteen Wives

DSC 2068

Kodava Cuisine – Festive Food of Coorg

2 Duotone Geometric patterns kadaga

Kodava Jewellery – Design Deconstructed

Bitter orange Wikimedia Commons

Kodava Cuisine – Seasonal Food of Coorg

IMG 5851

The Architecture of Ainmanes: Form follows Function


Kodava Ainmanes – the heart of the Kodava Clan

Lingarajendra shown engaged in hunting a drawing by Thippajappa of Shimoga

Shikar with Raja Lingarajendra

Wikipedia commonsWatercolor guest house of the Raja of Coorg by John Johnson

A Guest House for the British


A Photographer’s Guide to Coorg – 2

Orange-County-Article-A-Photographers-Guide-to-Coorg-by-Prathap-Photography-004 a

A Photographer’s Guide to Coorg

Malabar Gliding Frog evolveback 1

The Enchanted Woods!

312959-1345036410 sourced from web

Princess Victoria Gowramma of Coorg – 2

Veerarajendra Gowramma in London - 1852

Princess Victoria Gowramma of Coorg


Of Clouds and Waterfalls


The Mesmerizing Monsoon of Coorg