Parrots & Lorikeets

A large family, with 43 species recorded in Australia, including the extinct Paradise Parrot Psephotellus pulcherrimus, which is the only mainland species of bird to have become extinct since European settlement. Thirty-six of the remaining 42 species are endemic to Australia. Some are widespread in the country, while others have very restricted distributions. The lorikeets have a brush-tipped tongue, while the remainder have a thick, scaly tongue.

Although the origins of the parrot group is still very much in debate, the fact that the majority of the world’s 344 species are found in South America and Australia, as well as Africa, India, New Guinea and New Zealand, there can be no doubt that they originated in Gondwana, a supercontinent of 100 million years ago, that contained each of these countries.

Australia’s smallest parrot is the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot.  The species feeds on native fig seeds along the eastern coast of Australia, from northern New South Wales to Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.  The birds measure only 13 cm in length.

Scientific name: Psittacidae (family)

Australian King Parrot

Found in wet eucalypt forest along the east coast and ranges of Australia, the Australian King Parrot is a striking bird. Adult males have an entirely red head, orange bill and pale green shoulder stripe, the female has a dark grey bill and a green head. The bird picture here is an immature male, that is developing the red colouration of the adult. It feeds on seeds, nectar, fruits and some insects,...

Blue Bonnet

Northiella haematogaster The beautifully decorated Blue Bonnet cannot be confused with any other parrot found in Australia. The breast, neck and upperparts are grey-brown, the belly and ventral area are yellow, with varying amounts of red, and the fore-crown, face and chin are blue. When walking on the ground or perched, the stance is very upright. The contact call is a harsh ‘cluck-cluck’, oft...

Blue-winged Parrot

Neophema chrysostoma The main populations of this slender parrot are in southern Vic. and Tas., although smaller populations are scattered throughout western NSW and eastern SA, and uncommonly further north to south-west Qld and the NT. It is olive-green above, becoming more blue on the tail and with broad blue wing patches. The belly is yellowish, and there is a yellow patch around the face and...

Budgerigar

The Budgerigar is a native to Australia.  Since its discovery by John Gould in 1794, it has become internationally popular as a cage bird.  The first captive breeding was performed in about 1840, by John Gould’s cousin, Charles Coxon.   Since this introduction into captivity, it has been bred into a variety of colour forms, including pure white, blue, yellow, mauve, olive and grey.  Naturally, the Bu...

Crimson Rosella

Although the adult Crimson Rosella is unmistakable in its rich crimson plumage and bright blue cheeks, young birds have caused much confusion.  Most young birds have the characteristic blue cheeks, but the remainder of the plumage is a mixture of greens, reds and blues.  The young bird gradually attains the adult plumage over a period of 15 months.  In adult birds the back and wings are black, with ea...

Green Rosella

Platycercus caledonicus Endemic to Tasmania, this solidly-built parrot is Australia’s largest rosella (33 to 37 cm). More yellow when mature, with a blue throat patch and reddish forehead and face, the red wash extends to below the blue throat patch in the adult female. The wings and tail are dark blue and the back is dark green, each feather with a darker blackish centre. Younger birds are p...

Ground Parrot

Pezoporus wallicus Cryptically-coloured. Predominantly grass-green, mottled with black and yellow, and with a bright red patch above the bill (adults). Ground-dwelling amongst the dense heath and most often seen only when flushed, after which it typically flies a short distance before dropping back into the dense vegetation. The call, a high-pitched “tee-tee-teeee”, uttered mostly at dawn and...

Norfolk Island Green Parrot

Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae cookii The Norfolk Island Green Parrot (a subspecies of the Red-fronted Parakeet), is an endemic bird. Like its congeners elsewhere in the South Pacific, it is primarily green with a blue leading edge to the wings but having a red crown and spot behind the eye. At the time of the first British settlement, they were described as being in destructive plagues of very large...

Orange-bellied Parrot

Neophema chrysogaster The Orange-bellied Parrot, or OBP as it is often called, is the most threatened bird species in Australia and one of the most threatened parrot species in the world, with an estimated 50 individuals left in the wild. It is known to frequent the WTP during the colder months, where it feeds on the ground, mainly on the ground on the fruits, flowers and seeds of sedges in areas...

Red-collared Lorikeet

Trichoglossus rubritorquis This large (29cm) lorikeet is easily recognised by its striking blue head, purplish and orange shoulders, green lower back and wings, bright orange to yellow-orange breast, purplish-blue belly, yellowish-green undertail and base of legs, and orange collar. The orange collar is the main character which distinguishes it from the closely-related Rainbow Lorikeet T. haematodus...

Regent Parrot

Polytelis anthopeplus Two geographically isolated populations of this endemic slender yellow parrot, with darker bluish-black tail and wings, are found in Australia. One population inhabits areas of eucalypt woodland and mallee within eastern Australia (south-western NSW, north-western Vic and eastern SA), and the other occurs within open forest and woodlands in the wheatbelt region of south-western...

Scarlet-chested Parrot

Neophema splendida A striking, colourful parrot. The male has bright scarlet chest, orange-yellow belly, bright green upperparts (wings edged with pale blue) and striking blue face. The female has a paler face and green chest. The somewhat similar Turquoise Parrot N. pulchella has a yellow chest and red in the wing (male) and the female is very similar to the female Scarlet-chested Parrot,...

Superb Parrot

Polytelis swainsonii Brilliant green, with a long, tapered tail and orange bill. The male has a bright yellow face and throat, bordered with orange below and with an orange wash on the forehead. The female has a bluish tinge to the facial feathers and has orange-red thighs. The wings of both sexes have a blue wash and the underside of the tail is reddish. The flight is fast and direct. Often seen...

Turquoise Parrot

Neophema pulchella This small (20 cm) parrot shows strong sexual dimorphism. The male has a turquoise head, yellow underparts and an olive-green back. While the median, outer lesser wing-coverts and secondary-coverts are turquoise blue with the innermost median coverts chestnut red, appearing as a band running down the shoulders when not in flight. The female lacks the chestnut wing patch and...