Nature Mikey

Nature Mikey

Monday, May 30, 2011

Species of the Day: Australian King Parrot

Scientific Name: Alisterus scapularis
Adult Size: Over 16 inches long; 195 to 275 grams
Races Including Nominate: 2; A.s. scapularis, A.s. minor
Adult Plumage: A.s. scapularis: Male- red head, neck and underparts; blue band on the base of the neck; back and wings dark green; wing has silver-green band when folded; blue lower back and rump; black tail tinged with blue; upper mandible orange-red with a black tip, lower mandible is black with an orange base; yellow eyes. Female- green head and upperparts; red lower breast and abdomen; silver green wing band is minimal or absent; dark green tail with a pink tip; gray bill; yellow eyes. A.s. minor: Both adults the same as scapularis, but smaller in size.
Call: Flight calls are shrill and somewhat loud. Alarm calls are a harsh and metallic shrieking. Males give high pitched, flute-like notes when perched.

    Captive-bred Australian King parrots make calm and relatively quiet household pets. They have a limited talking ability and normally prefer not to be handled, but they do bond readily to people and can be very sweet and devoted. Will tolerate other species outside of the breeding season.
Captive Status: Fairly common as pets in Australia; less so elsewhere
Longevity: up to 25 years in some captive individuals
Housing: Walk in aviary; minimum length of 10 feet
Diet: Small seed mix such as canary seed, oats, safflower and hemp; spray millet; limited sunflower seed (dry, sprouted or soaked); sprouted or cooked beans and pulses; boiled maize; leafy greens such as Swiss chard, Romaine lettuce, sowthistle, dandelion greens, chickweed; vegetables such as carrots, celery, zucchini, squash, green beans and peas in the pod; fruit such as apple, pear, banana, cactus fruits and oranges; nuts such as lightly cracked hazelnuts, pecans and roasted peanuts; complete kibble.

World Population: over 50,000
Range: A.s. scapularis: Southeastern coast and eastern-central mainland Australia; A.s. minor: Northeastern Australia
Habitat: Occurs up to 5330 feet in elevation. Found in a variety of habitats from high, forested areas to lower, more open spaces. During the breeding season, birds are found in more dense forest such as wet sclerophyll forest, gullies, eucalyptus woodland and savanna woodland bordering with riverine forest. Also, outside of the breeding season, they are found in cultivated lands, parks, orchards and sometimes backyard gardens.
Wild Diet: East fruits, flowers, berries, nuts, seeds, insect larvae, buds and other vegetation. A favorite is a species of mistletoe, Viscum album. May eat some food crops.
Ecology: Seasonally nomadic to a degree. Usually found in pairs or small groups, or post-breeding flocks of up to 50 individuals. Conspicuous when not feeding, weary and quiet while eating. Gathers in groups to feed in the morning, then sits quietly through the heat of the day, becoming active again in the late afternoon.
IUCN Rating: Least Concern
CITES Rating: Appendix II
Threat Summary: Population appears stable but may have been affected by the wild bird trade and habitat loss to some degree

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