The Greater Vasa is an ancient and most unusual parrot from Madagascar and Indian Ocean islands.
It has dark brown or dark grey plumage and a disproportionately large pink beak. Males and females have similar plumage but, like birds of prey, females are significantly larger and dominant.
Changes in skin/plumage colouring when breeding (and loss of head feathers by female), anatomy and breeding habits (including polygamy by hens) are all unusual for parrots.
It is also said to hunt and eat meat in the wild and has been said to be a link between raptors and parrots.
Juveniles have browner plumage which turns more grey as they mature. Pale eye-rings and beaks can darken as part of the breeding cycle. There are 3 subspecies which differ slightly in colouring of pale under-tail feathers, eye-rings and nasal "cere": the nominate Vasa subspecies, the Western Vasa (drouhardi) subspecies and the Comoro Vasa (comorensis).