This medium/small parrot whose origin story begins in the tropics of central South America is not native to Florida. However, permanent colonies became established in the lower latitudes of the U. S. when these popular pets either escaped or were released into the wild in the 1960s.
The greater Tampa Bay area boasts one of the largest enclaves of these feathered expats, measuring about 13 inches, head-to-tail, and weighing 5 ounces.
Its black head and face — in stark contrast with the vibrant green, yellow, red, and blue plumage — is the reason the nanday is informally called the black-hooded parakeet.
This colorful character is often heard before being seen thanks to its sociable and boisterous nature. Diners at many of the outdoor restaurants along Siesta Key’s Ocean Boulevard and Midnight Pass Road are often regaled by groups of nandays congregating noisily on overhead powerlines and in palm trees.
Calling back and forth, their animated conversations exemplify a shared sense of community — sometimes as idle gossip, sometimes as an early warning system for a perceived threat.
Jan Baumgartner’s handmade notecards are available at BLVD Beachwear, 5239 Ocean Blvd., and Shelly’s Gift and Christmas Boutique, 4420 S. Tamiami Tr.