Australian King Parrot

Alisterus scapularis

Adults of both sexes are about 43 cm (17 in) in length, including the long broad tail. The adult male has a red head, breast, and lower undersides, with a blue band on the back of the neck between the red above and green on the back, the wings are green and each has a pale green shoulder band, the tail is green, and the rump is blue. The male has a reddish-orange upper mandible with a black tip, a black lower mandible with an orange base, and yellow irises. The plumage of the female is much different from the male having a green head and breast, a grey beak, and the pale shoulder band is small or absent. Juveniles of both sexes have brown irises, a yellowish beak and otherwise resemble the female.

Breeding

King-Parrots lay their eggs on a bed of decayed wood-dust at the bottom of a deep hollow in the trunk of a tree. Often the entrance is high in the tree (10 m) but the eggs are near the ground.

Behaviour

King-Parrots are usually found in humid and heavily forested upland regions of the eastern portion of the continent, including eucalyptus wooded areas in and directly adjacent to a subtropical and temperate rainforest. Endemic to eastern Australia. They are largely sedentary birds, spending much of their time foraging in trees for seeds and fruit. The King-Parrot appears to be increasing in abundance in well-treed suburbs. In urban areas, it feeds at artificial feeding stations and fruiting trees.

Diet

Seeds mainly, including fruit seeds, also honey and insects.

Status

Common, but affected by the destruction of heavy timber.

 

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