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12

Australian King-Parrot

(Alisterus scapularis)
Alternate name(s): "King Lory", "Southern King Parrot"
Size: 42-44 cm
Weight: 200-285 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian King-Parrot at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "scapularis"

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

ADULT

MALE

Close-up frontal portrait of a male Australian King-Parrot (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Queen Mary Falls, near Killarney, QLD, October 2015]

Close-up frontal view of a male Australian King-Parrot (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, September 2012]

Frontal view of a male Australian King-Parrot
[Kingaroy, QLD, March 2016]

Close-up lateral view of a male Australian King-Parrot (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, September 2012]

Lateral view of a male Australian King-Parrot sitting in a Kurrajong tree
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, February 2006]

Direct comparison of a male Australian King-Parrot, back, and a female, right (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Kingaroy, QLD, December 2015]

FEMALE

Close-up frontal portrait of a female Australian King-Parrot (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2012]

Close-up lateral view of a female Australian King-Parrot (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, April 2013]

Some Australian King-Parrot acrobatics (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2013]

Ventral view of a female Australian King-Parrot
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Lateral view of a female Australian King-Parrot feeding on White Cedar nuts under a tree
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Lateral view of four Australian King-Parrots in flight
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, April 2016]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Near-frontal view of an immature Australian King-Parrot
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

Lateral view of an immature Australian King-Parrot
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

Lateral view of a fledgling Australian King-Parrot (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, November 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Oct - Dec Eggs: 4 - 6 Incubation period: 20 days Fledging age: 35 days

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Tree hollow Material: Wood Height above ground: >10 m

It is not entirely certain whether the opening to the tree hollow shown below is in fact the entrance to the birds' nest. We saw them around the opening, but not actually entering it. The same treetrunk had another opening on the other side.

Entrance to the nest(?) of a family of Australian King-Parrots
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2008]

Female Australian King-Parrot checking out a potential nest hollow that had been pointed out by the male
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, August 2015]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 33 x 27 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Pair/small flock

Bonding ritual between a pair of Australian King-Parrots; the female will beg for food to test the male's suitability as a partner, knowing that she will have to rely on him while incubating and brooding the young (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2012]

The photo below shows that Australian King Parrots can be quite curious.

Australian King Parrot looking into a house clinging to the flyscreen on a window
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds, fruit Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Australian King-Parrots eat both fruit and seeds. They love apricots and figs (just before they turn ripe) and the fruit of the White Cedar tree. The latter they will eat either sitting in the tree or later from the ground, once they have fallen. Below an example of native seeds that they eat. At the time when we saw them around this bush, they were being hustled by an Olive-backed Oriole. It is unusual for parrots to be hustled, because they pose no threat to other species' chicks, so the fight may have been about food competition.

We were surprised to find Australian King-Parrots feeding on (unripe) mistletoe fruit. Photos are available here.

Close-up view of a male Australian King-Parrot chewing some kind of fruit (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead, QLD, August 2017]

Male Australian King-Parrot chewing on a White Cedar nut
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Close-up portrait of a female Australian King-Parrot chewing on a White Cedar nut
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Pair of Australian King-Parrots taking White Cedar nuts from the ground
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

When food is in such abundance, Australian King-Parrots can occasionally be seen in considerable numbers, although usually they would come in pairs or small family units
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Young male Australian King-Parrot feasting on the seeds of a bush
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2008]

Here a closer look at the seeds
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2008]

Some species of parrots, in this case Australian King-Parrots, know how to find reliable water supplies in tree hollows (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Cape Conran Wildlife Caravan Park, East Gippsland, VIC, September 2007]

Male Australian King-Parrot feeding on sunflower kernels
[Kingaroy, QLD, March 2016]

Female Australian King-Parrot feeding on sunflower kernels
[Kingaroy, QLD, March 2016]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

kingpar_20140125_2.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
kingpar_20140110_3.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Contact calls © MD
kingpar_art_20131107.mp3 scapularis
(SE QLD)
Calling mate © ART
kingpar_20140502.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Q&A (arrival) © MD
kingpar_20140125.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Warning calls © MD
kingpar_20140704.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Alarm call © MD
kingpar_20140313.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Alarm/departure © MD
kingpar_20160406.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Disturbed/suspicious;
alarm/departure
© MD
kingpar_20140502_2.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls (in-flight) © MD
kingpar_20140127.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Alarm call (Brown Goshawk) © MD
kingpar_20140319.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Alarm call (Brown Goshawk) © MD
kingpar_art_20131125.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Feeding call © ART
kingpar_20151016_2_noNR.mp3 scapularis
(NW NSW)
Male wooing female © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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