cientific Name: (Neophema pulchella)
Did You Know?
It was considered to be extinct in the wild in 1915!
Over 80% of Australia’s temperate woodland (which is Turquoise Parrot habitat) has been cleared and the process is still occurring!
This small parrot is about 20cm in length. It has bright green upperparts with the underparts yellow and blue-edged wings. The sexes look slightly different with the male having a blue face and a small red patch on each shoulder and the female lacks the red shoulders with a smaller blue face and overall has a duller appearance. Both sexes have been seen with an orange tinged body. Parrots that may be confused with the Turquoise Parrot are the Blue-winged Parrot, the Orange-bellied Parrot and the Red-rumped Parrot.
Historically the Turquoise Parrot’s range was quite extensive. It is now found from south-eastern Queensland through NSW (in patchy populations) through to north-eastern Victoria. Ideal habitat for this species is open, grassy bushland, with dead trees near a permanent water source, however it also inhabits coastal heathland and these parrots have also been observed foraging along roads and in farmland. The richer (preferred) habitat near permanent water are favoured for agricultural uses and therefore cleared. The habitat is destructed and degraded by logging and clearing and nearby grassland feeding grounds for the Turquoise Parrot are used for cattle grazing.
These parrots have quite a diverse diet which includes flowers, fruit, nectar, leaves, insects and seeds. Their main food type is seeds of native shrubs and grasses. They are often seen foraging on the ground feeding on grass seed.
The Turquoise parrot needs hollows for nesting and shelter. Old, dead trees with vertical hollows are preferred but also will nest in living trees. Hollows used vary in height with some hollows only being a metre off the ground. Nesting material consists of fine woodchip or decayed wood dust thought to aid in keeping the eggs warm. Other materials such as leaves and grasses are used. The female tucks these into the feathers on her rump and flies up to the hollow, carrying them with her. The female will lay a clutch of four to five eggs and solely incubates them, being fed by her mate for the duration. However, the male parrot will help with the chicks once hatched. The eggs are incubated for around 18 days with the chicks staying in the nest for about a month. Fledging lasts only a week but the chicks stay with their parents learning about their environment and are still being fed by the male. Around this time the female begins nesting again with a second clutch. Approximately 2 chicks will survive to adulthood per clutch.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Due to this species having a large range and the population seems to be stable, the conservation status cannot be classed as vulnerable. However different states have different status’ for their populations with the Turquoise Parrot being listed as vulnerable in NSW.
Threats to this parrot include feral predators such as the cat and fox, habitat destruction (clearing for agricultural practices), nesting site removal (hollows in trees cleared) and degradation (due to grazing and logging).