Fw: Request for Assistance

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Juan F. Masello

Sep 10, 2022, 4:28:40 PMSep 10
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Hi All,
a colleague asked me to forward to you a question.
She is a classicist interested in the history of the diffusion and distribution of parrots (and parakeets) in the Mediterranean area in ancient times. 
She wrote
There is scholarly consensus that the only kind of parrot known to the ancient Greeks and Romans was the Indian parakeet. Although in time the African continent was progressively explored, they do not seem to have ever encountered any Grey parrot.  
I would be interested in knowing what is the first evidence or mention of an African Grey  in Europe but I cannot find any reliable information. All I have found so far is a note in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica online" that reads as follows:
"one of the first recorded observance of African greys by Westerners occurred after France occupied the Canary Islands at the beginning of the 15th century. As Portugal's trade relationship with western Africa developed, more birds were captured and kept as pets in Europe"
but the author does not give any reference to scholarly literature.
Can any one of you help to answer this question?
Thank you.
Cheers, JUAN

Holly Starenchak

Sep 10, 2022, 9:38:45 PMSep 10
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I have come across relatively old paintings of African Grey parrots at a few art museums. I believe the painting at my local art museum (the NC Museum of Art) is from the 1500s, but I am not sure without revisiting the museum. It depicts an African Grey parrot with a bowl of fruit. 

I have also found the painting "Young Woman Feeding a Parrot" by Frans van Mieris, which was completed in 1663. An image of the painting is attached.

Although it doesn't describe the first known interactions with them, these paintings show Europeans had been keeping the birds in captivity for at least some time. 

I'd love to hear if anyone else has any other information.

Holly 🦜

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Juan F. Masello

Sep 11, 2022, 8:28:41 AMSep 11
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thank you very much for your prompt answer. Much appreciated.
And, thank you also Elise who also contributed quite interesting information.
I forwarded this to Cristiana Franco.
Looking forward to any other related bits of information/publications, etc.
Gesendet: Sonntag, 11. September 2022 um 03:38 Uhr
Von: "'Holly Starenchak' via Parrot Researchers Group" <parrot-spec...@googlegroups.com>
An: parrot-spec...@googlegroups.com
Betreff: Re: {Parrot Researchers Group} Fw: Request for Assistance

Pat Latas

Sep 11, 2022, 5:16:43 PMSep 11
to Parrot Researchers Group
here is an old, and I believe inactive, Facebook page with tons of images (of all ages) . It might be worth looking at their photos to see if anything of use to you is in there.
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