Other Names: King Parrot,
Western King Parrot, Pileated Parakeet.
Distribution and Habitat
Parrot inhabits the south-western corner of Australia, in close
association with the marri tree Eucalyptus calophylla, which
provides both nesting hollows and food. The birdís peculiarly shaped
slender, hooked bill is adapted to extracting seeds from the large
hard seed capsules of the marri tree. The Red-capped Parrot also
inhabits trees surrounding cultivated farmlands, parklands, orchards
and alongside roads and watercourses, even into the suburbs of Perth.
Unfortunately its frequenting of orchards has led to conflict with
brightly coloured male has a red forehead, crown and nape, bright
yellow cheeks and throat, a purplish-blue chest and light-green
back. The rump and upper tail covets are also bright yellow, with
red on the flanks, vent and under-tail. The long tail is bight green
edged with blue and tipped white. The long slender bill is a bluish-horn
colour and the legs and eyes are brown.
A duller bird, the female has more
green on the flanks and under-tail. In addition her red-cap may
be tinged with green and her chest colour less vivid.
birds have dull green heads and upper parts, a rust coloured frontal
band and are generally duller in colour. The under parts are a dull
red-brown, washed with violet blue lower down. Adult plumage is
attained in males by the first complete moult when the birds are
12 to 15 months old. Young females may not acquire full plumage,
especially the re-cap, until the second moult. Immatures also have
an under-wing stripe, which persists in females but disappears in
males after the first moult.
The Red-capped Parrot has not enjoyed
great popularity in aviculture and has the reputation of being a
flighty and timid bird. This reputation may have been earned from
stock in the past being obtained mainly from legally taken wild
birds. More recently, several aviculturists seem to be enjoying
more success breeding this species and with more captive-bred birds,
hopefully their reputation will improve.
A large aviary, 2-5m in length is
recommended for this species. As they tend to be aggressive, they
should not be housed next to other aggressive species such as rosellas
or ringneck parrots. Red-capped Parrots enjoy bathing, so facilities
for this activity should be provided.
addition to a basic seed diet, the parrots should be provided with
a selection of fruit, greens and vegetables, eucalypt and cotoneaster
branches. The Red-capped Parrot used its feet to hold food.
in addition to the above, females
have a thin band of green feathers between the red cap and the eyelids.
The red feathers of the vent are not as bright and have a broken
outline, barred with pale green. This later is most obvious between
6 and 12 months of age and may be used to identify young females.
Generally begins around October and
birds have been known to breed in their first year. The courtship
behaviour of the male is quite unique. He alights near the female,
erects his red crown feathers, droops his wings to display his yellow
rump and slowly raises his fanned-out tail feathers. During the
display a harsh rattling ďkurr-akĒ is uttered.
Logs or boxes may be used. Four to
five eggs are laid and incubated by the hen for 20 days. The male
feeds the hen during incubation and for a further 2 weeks. After
this he feeds the chicks directly in the nest until they fledge
at 5 weeks. Hand-raised Red-capped Parrots are reported to be very
responsive and exhibit a high degree of intelligence.
a beginnerís bird, the Red-capped Parrot would make an attractive
addition to the more experienced aviculturistís collection. To safeguard
itís avicultural future, It is important that this species becomes
more established and available in aviaries.
Lendon, A. Australian Parrots in Field and Aviary.
Angus & Robertson Publishers, North Ryde, 1989.
Shephard, M. Aviculture
in Australia. Black Cockatoo Press, Prahran, 1989.