Although King-Parrots appear distinctly red and green to humans, when viewed under ultraviolet light, some feathers on the wings appear with a prominent yellow glow. Many birds have four types of cone in their retina, (compared to only three in humans) and see into the ultraviolet wavelengths.
Male Australian King-Parrots are the only Australian parrots with a completely red head. Females are similar to males except that they have a completely green head and breast. Both sexes have a red belly and a green back, with green wings and a long green tail. King parrots are normally encountered in pairs or family groups.
King-Parrots are usually found in rainforests or wet sclerophyll forests.
King-Parrots are found along the east coast and ranges of Australia, ranging from Cooktown in Queensland through to Port Campbell in Victoria.
Feeding and diet
The King-Parrot mostly forages in trees for seeds and fruit.
Loud, high-pitched whistle, with a rolling 'carr-ack' call in flight.
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 (0.5 m).
- Breeding Season: September to January.
- Clutch size: 5
- Incubation: 20 days
- Time in nest: 35 days
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.
- Higgins, P.J. (ed) 1999. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 4 (Parrots to Dollarbird). Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
- Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
- Morcombe, M. 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.