King Parrots in Backyard

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King Parrots in Backyard

Don was surprised to see a pair of King Parrots eating the white flowers of a sasanqua camellia. He had noticed nectar-feeding birds visiting the camellias, but this was the first time he’d seen parrots eating the petals. Although camellias are not Australian native plants, they actually do feed and support many of our native birds including lorikeets and honeyeaters. King Parrots are predominately seed and fruit eaters. They also feed on other introduced plants including bananas and the seeds of wild tobacco.

King Parrots (Alisterus scapularis) are extraordinarily beautiful. They are large, long-tailed parrots which range from Cooktown in Queensland to the Otway Ranges in Victoria. The males have bright red heads and breasts, green backs with a light green patch, and dark blue tails. The females are not as colourful. They have less red on their breasts than the males, and their heads are green.

Further reading

For more information on bird identification consult ‘The Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight Field Guide to the Birds of Australia’ by Graham Pizzey, illustrated by Frank Knight (Angus & Robertson, 1997). For information on birds in your backyard see ‘Burke’s Backyard Guide to Backyard Birds’ (available by sending a cheque for $3.85 to ACP Direct, Burke’s Backyard Reply Paid 3508, Sydney, NSW, 2001, or phone 13 61 16) or John Dengate’s ‘Attracting Birds to Your Garden in Australia’ (New Holland, 1997).