In our local park there is a semi-regular, itinerant population of Red-rumped Parrots (Psephotus haematonotus). The Red-rumped is a slender, medium-sized Parrot. The male is colourful and highly distinctive: his blue-green or turquoise head is iridescent, he has dusky blue-green mantle and back, his belly is a bright yellow… the red-rump for which he is named is almost the least distinctive thing about him. (A close-up of his wing is the banner heading on this blog!)
Red-rumpeds feed in pairs or small flocks on the ground, almost exclusively on seeds of various grasses. We’ve read that they will also feed on fruits and flowers in trees, but we can’t say we’ve witnessed that yet. Their greens, though bright, are surprisingly good camouflage in ankle-length grass, and as they are also fairly approachable, you can be almost on top of them before you see them.
They mate for life. The nesting site is most often a natural hollow in a eucalypt. Apparently, they adapt well to aviaries, and are happy to nest in a nesting-box. Anecdotally, some local populations are thought to have sprung up from aviary escapes.
The female is a much more drab olive-grey, and the juveniles are also dimorphic, resembling a duller version of the adults.
The Red-rumped Parrot is found in south-eastern Australia, throughout most of New South Wales and Victoria. Apparently there are isolated populations in north-eastern South Australia and south-western Queensland. They prefer open grasslands or lightly timbered plains, especially near rivers and watercourses. They are never far from water (our locals hang around the canal that runs through the park). They are never seen very close to the coast however, preferring to be a little inland. They tend to avoid wetter forested areas as well.
We came across a small flock at Boorowa – a small farming village in the South West Slopes of NSW, not far from Young:
Such glamorous plumage requires a bit of upkeep. Amanda captured this male having an elaborate preen…