Red winged Parrot Click to enlarge image
Red winged Parrot from Coolah Image: Jim Clark
© Jim Clark

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    erythropterus
    Genus
    Aprosmictus
    Family
    Psittacidae
    Order
    Psittaciformes
    Class
    Aves
  • Size Range
    31 cm to 33 cm

The courtship display of the Red-winged Parrot is very colourful: the male circles the favoured female, then lowers his wings to expose the blue patch on his lower back, which is usually hidden. He holds his feathers close to his body and contracts his pupils.

Identification

The Red-winged Parrot is a medium-sized, stout parrot and is the only mainly green parrot with large red shoulder patches. The male is bright lime green with a black back and deep blue rump. The tail is green with a yellow tip. The bill and eye are red and the legs are grey. The female is similar, but with a smaller wing patch and dark green back and a paler rump. Red-winged Parrots are usually seen in pairs or flocks. Their flight is distinctive, with deep, full strokes and a light and airy quality, pausing on each stroke. This species is also known as Crimson-winged or Red-winged Lory, Red Wing or King Parrot.

Habitat

Red-winged Parrots are found in open, dry woodlands, timber-lined watercourses and arid scrub and sometimes in mangroves. They spend most of the day in trees.

Distribution

Red-winged Parrots are widespread in northern and eastern Australia and are also found in southern New Guinea and Irian Jaya.



Seasonality

The movements of Red-winged Parrots are not well known. They are considered partly nomadic in response to local conditions, searching for food and water.

Feeding and diet

Red-winged Parrots feed on seeds, nectar, pollen and blossoms, insects and larvae. They forage in the canopy on outer branches of flowering trees and shrubs. They occasionally come to the ground to drink or to eat fallen seeds.

Communication

The Red-winged Parrot usually calls in flight with a sharp metallic 'crillik, crillik' and a harsh shrieking 'chik-chik-chik' in alarm.

Breeding behaviours

Red-winged Parrots breed once each year. Eggs are laid in the hollow trunk of a tall tree, often near the ground. The nesting tree is usually close to water. The nest site may be a long way down from the entrance, which is high in the tree. Only the female incubates, leaving the nest to feed or to be fed by the male.

  • Breeding Season: July to January.

Economic impacts

Red-winged Parrots are uncommon to locally common. Sometimes the young are taken for the pet trade.