Turquoise Parrot, Neophema pulchella Click to enlarge image
Turquoise Parrot, Neophema pulchella Image: Ilya Fomin
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    pulchella
    Genus
    Neophema
    Family
    Psittacidae
    Order
    Psittaciformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Length: 20 cm

Until the 1890's, the Turquoise Parrot was considered the most common species of parrot in Western Sydney and was one of only two species recorded before 1900.

Identification

The male Turquoise Parrot is bright green above, with a turquoise blue crown and face. A brilliant two-tone blue band around the bend of the wing contrasts with a dark, brick-red shoulder patch. Its throat, chest, belly, and tail edges are a rich yellow. The female is similar, but not as bright, with a whitish facial mask, no red on the wing, and a pale wing stripe. Old birds of both sexes may have orange underparts.

Distribution

The Turquoise Parrot is found in south-east Australia, from south-eastern Queensland, through to eastern and north-eastern Victoria. The range was formerly more extensive, which included being found readily throughout New South Wales and the Sydney region.



Habitat

The Turquoise Parrot favours open, grassy woodland with dead trees near permanent water. It also inhabits coastal heaths and pastures with exotic grasses and weeds, along roadsides and in orchards.

Seasonality

Turquoise Parrots are generally resident in an area, but some local seasonal movement occurs.

Feeding and diet

Pairs or small parties of Turquoise Parrots forage mostly on or near the ground for seeds of grasses and shrubs. They also eat flowers, nectar, fruits, leaves and scale-insects.

Communication

While birds are in flight, the contact call is a soft, metallic sounding note that sounds similar to 'tseet-tseet'. When birds are roosting or feeding, birds make a high-pitched and weak, twittering sound.

Breeding Behaviour/s

The Turquoise Parrot nests in vertical or near-vertical hollows in living or dead trees. Between 2 to 5 eggs are laid on decayed wood-dust or fine wood-chips. Leaves and grass may also be brought to the nest, thought to be carried by the female by tucking them under the feathers on her rump. Sometimes two clutches are laid in a season. Only the female incubates the eggs and newly hatched chicks. After a few days, both parents tend to the chicks.

Breeding Season: August to December.

Economic/social impacts

The Turquoise Parrot is considered Vulnerable in New South Wales, and Near-Threatened in Victoria, after having been considered extinct in the wild by 1917. The population began to recover by the 1920's. They had formerly been caught in large numbers for the cage bird industry, and were also shot for food, as a pie-filling. Their original habitat in western Sydney - the Cumberland Plain Woodland - is the most cleared of any vegetation community. The species has since made a recovery, and is found once again in the Cumberland region of outer Sydney, and Southern Highlands areas.


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