No, it's not a new sub-species. A lady by the name of Netty Ribeaux has been catching and ringing the birds as they come in to roost at Wormwood Scrubs, London. She then marks them with a harmless stock marking spray so that they are visible to observers from a distance.
So far her team have rung and marked 155 rose-ringed parakeets from the Wormwood Scrubs Roost. She's hoping that people will spot one and contact her to say where it is, and if possible what it's doing. Her aim is to find out more about their distribution and behavior.
They've all been marked with red or purple stock marker on the breast and rump. The final 30 birds also have a small purple spot (125mm diameter) on the head which can't be preened off on their own and a red stripe across the underside of the tail as the dye seems to stick better to the underside of the feathers.
Netty said; " All the work is being carried out by licenced ringers with a specific endorsement to colour mark the birds for this study. The dye is only really visible for about 2 weeks from the marking date so I doubt I'll get any reliable data after the 26th August although I guess that depends somewhat on the behaviour of the individual birds."
If you spot one of these painted parakeets, and you'd like to help, give Netty a call on 07890 195 928 or email her at: email@example.com