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12

Australian Ringneck

(Barnardius zonarius)
Alternate name(s): Race "zonarius": "Port Lincoln Parrot";
race "semitorquatus": "Twenty-eight Parrot";
race "barnardi": "Mallee Ringneck", "Mallee Parrot", "Barnard's Parakeet";
race "macgillivrayi": "Cloncurry Ringneck"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "zonarius"/"semitorquatus": "ulbaja", "dowarn", "doomolok";
race "semitorquatus": "toolnut" [noongar];
race "barnardi": "bulla-bulla", "bulun bulun" [gamilaraay, yuwaalaraay]

Size: 34-38 cm
Weight: 100-200 g

Similar
species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian Ringneck at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

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

Race "zonarius"

This race is also called "Port Lincoln Parrot".

ADULT

MALE

Near-lateral view of an Australian Ringneck looking towards the observer; the all-black head suggests that this bird is a male (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Botanical Gardens, Alice Springs, NT, July 2018]

Near-lateral view of an Australian Ringneck; the all-black head suggests that this bird is a male (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Botanical Gardens, Alice Springs, NT, July 2018]

Lateral view of a male Australian Ringneck (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Botanical Gardens, Alice Springs, NT, July 2018]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of an Australian Ringneck - the brownish black head suggests that this is a female
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, October 2022]

Near-frontal view of a female Australian Ringneck looking sideways (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, October 2022]

Lateral view of a female Australian Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, October 2022]

Lateral view of a female Australian Ringneck feeding on flower petals (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, October 2022]

Sex unknown

Near-frontal view of an Australian Ringneck, pure race "zonarius" (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Uluru, NT, March 2015]

Near-lateral view of an Australian Ringneck (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Uluru, NT, March 2015]

Note that, despite their red frontal bands, the birds shown below are not race "semitorquatus" (whose underparts are all green). The red frontal band is part of a mix with race "semitorquatus".

Frontal portrait of an Australian Ringneck, race "zonarius", looking sideways, with some indication (the red patch) of hybridization with "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Mundaring, 35 km E of Perth, WA, December 2014]

Near-frontal view of an Australian Ringneck, race "zonarius", with some indication (the red patch) of hybridization with "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Triandra Reserve, Cockburn, WA, April 2019]

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "zonarius", with some indication of hybridization with "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Triandra Reserve, Cockburn, WA, April 2019]

Near-dorsal view of an Australian Ringneck, race "zonarius", with some indication (the red patch) of hybridization with "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Triandra Reserve, Cockburn, WA, April 2019]

Note that, despite their red frontal bands, the birds shown below are not race "semitorquatus" (whose underparts are all green). The red frontal band is part of a mix with race "barnardi".

Lateral portrait of an Australian Ringneck, (mostly) race "zonarius"
[Near Flinders Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

Close-up near-dorsal view of Australian Ringnecks drinking water from a leaking tank; the bird on the right does not have a red frontal band, indicating a strong heritage from the "zonarius" side of the family, whereas the bird on the left has colours more typical of race "barnardi", as shown below
[Near Flinders Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile Australian Ringneck
[Near Flinders Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

Race "semitorquatus"

This race is also called "Twenty-eight Parrot".

ADULT

Sex unknown

Close-up full-frontal portrait of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", with a contribution of "zonarius", as shown in the yellow belly (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Gnoocardup, WA, December 2016]

Full-frontal view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", on a lawn (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Quindalup, WA, August 2022]

Frontal/ventral view of a snoozing Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Mundaring, 35 km E of Perth, WA, December 2014]

Near-lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Mundaring, 35 km E of Perth, WA, December 2014]

Lateral portrait of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Mundaring, 35 km E of Perth, WA, December 2014]

Close-up lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", on a lawn (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Quindalup, WA, August 2022]

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Margaret River, WA, April 2019]

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Triandra Reserve, Cockburn, WA, April 2019]

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", chomping on eucalypt seeds (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Triandra Reserve, Cockburn, WA, April 2019]

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", foraging on the ground (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Quindalup, WA, April 2013]

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", foraging on the ground (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Quindalup, WA, April 2013]

Lateral view of 3 Australian Ringnecks, race "semitorquatus", feeding on a lawn (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Quindalup, WA, August 2022]

Near-dorsal view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", feeding on a lawn (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Quindalup, WA, August 2022]

Race "barnardi"

This race is also called "Mallee Ringneck".

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Mallee Ringneck; note the prominent yellow-orange breast band and the dark-red cere
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[St. George River Walk, St. George, QLD, June 2022]

Near-frontal view of a male Mallee Ringneck
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a male Mallee Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bourke, NSW, June 2022]

Close-up near-lateral/ventral view of a male Mallee Ringneck with a particularly prominent chest band
[Moree, NSW, September 2015]

Lateral view of a male Mallee Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Monarto Conservation Park, near Murray Bridge, SA, April 2022]

Lateral view of a male Mallee Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a male Mallee Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bourke, NSW, June 2022]

Near-dorsal view of a male Mallee Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Monarto Conservation Park, near Murray Bridge, SA, April 2022]

Near-dorsal view of a male Mallee Ringneck posturing in front of his mate
[Pilliga Wetlands Walk, NSW, February 2024]

Close-up near-dorsal/ventral view of a male Mallee Ringneck
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2023]

Dorsal view of a male Mallee Ringneck feeding in a Cypress pine
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

FEMALE

Close-up frontal view of a female Mallee Ringneck looking sideways - note the inconspicuous chest band

[Pilliga Wetlands Walk, NSW, February 2024]

Close-up near-frontal/ventral view of a female Mallee Ringneck
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2023]

Near-lateral view of a female Mallee Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a female Mallee Ringneck - note the very inconspicuous, if not absent, chest band
(photo courtesy of V. Collins)
[Merriwindi SCA, near Kenebri, NSW, January 2021]

Lateral portrait of a female Mallee Ringneck
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, August 2006]

Lateral view of a female Mallee Ringneck
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, March 2006]

Near-dorsal view of a female Mallee Ringneck feeding on seeds
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, August 2006]

Dorsal view of a female Mallee Ringneck with its head turned (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Dorsal view of a female Mallee Ringneck (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

PAIR

Frontal/lateral view of a pair of Mallee Ringnecks drinking from a water bowl; male on the left, female on the right
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2019]

Near-lateral view of a pair of Mallee Ringnecks, male at upper left
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Lateral view of a pair of Mallee Ringnecks trying to drink from a frozen bird bath
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2006]

Oi mate, I think I'm Jesus - I can walk on water!
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2006]

Lateral/near-dorsal view of a pair of Mallee Ringnecks nibbling on a succulent plant; male in front
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Sex unknown

Close-up frontal view of a Mallee Ringneck looking sideways (photo courtesy of V. Collins)
[Merriwindi SCA, near Kenebri, NSW, January 2021]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Close-up frontal view of a juvenile Mallee Ringneck feeding on the seeds of an Acacia salicina - note the greyish cheeks and the faint breast band
[Tiger Bay, Warren, NSW, December 2016]

Close-up near-frontal view of a juvenile Mallee Ringneck; this is the bird whose begging calls were recorded on 4 February 2019
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2019]

Close-up near-lateral view of a juvenile Mallee Ringneck feeding on the seeds of an Acacia salicina
[Tiger Bay, Warren, NSW, December 2016]

Lateral view of an adult Mallee Ringneck feeding a dependent juvenile
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2019]

Race "barnardi"/"zonarius"

The bird shown below was found by us on the side of a road, about 10 km East of Burren Junction, NSW, in November 2013. Its plumage suggests a mixed heritage of races "zonarius" (e.g. the dark mantle and the yellow belly) and "barnardi" (the red stripe and the light-green breast and cap). Its location (1000 km East of the range of race "zonarius") and behaviour (being easily approachable) suggest that this bird is an aviary escape.

Frontal view of a hybrid Australian Ringneck feeding on the seeds of grasses and weeds by a roadside
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Near-frontal view of a hybrid Australian Ringneck
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Near-frontal view of a hybrid Australian Ringneck feeding on the seeds of grasses and weeds by a roadside
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Near-lateral view of a hybrid Australian Ringneck feeding on the seeds of grasses and weeds by a roadside
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral view of a hybrid Australian Ringneck
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Dorsal view of a hybrid Australian Ringneck
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Race "macgillivrayi"

This race is also called "Cloncurry Ringneck".

ADULT

MALE

Near-dorsal view of a (probably male) Australian Ringneck, race "macgillivrayi" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)

Dorsal view of a (probably male) Australian Ringneck, race "macgillivrayi" (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Pair

Mallee Ringnecks are usually seen as pairs, but sometimes come to good food sources in flocks of up to about 10 birds. They like grass seeds, White Cedar fruit and, even more, young shoots of trees and bushes, such as cottonwood and bottlebrush. During their breeding season they make themselves scarce. Around January they reappear to pick off seeds from trees and grass plants. The fact that they also like the noxious Spiny Burrgrass seeds makes them our best friends.

As part of the preparations for breeding, female Australian Ringnecks will expect to be fed by their partners, because they take on the incubation duties. The process of being fed by their partner is part of a bonding ritual.

Pair of Mallee Ringnecks - male on the left, female on the right; she is begging him for food...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2019]

... and he feeds her to prove his mettle; this is a bonding ritual prior to mating
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2019]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck peeling seeds out of a pod (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Alice Springs, NT, October 2022]

Lateral view of an Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", feeding on the fresh shoots of a lawn - an Australian Ringneck "lawn shark"... (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Quindalup, WA, August 2022]

Mallee Ringneck feeding on filaments and anthers of a eucalypt flower
[Eulah Creek, NSW, June 2022]

Mallee Ringneck feeding on filaments and anthers of a mistletoe flower
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2022]

Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", trying to bite off a mouthful of an eucalypt seed (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Margaret River, WA, April 2019]

Australian Ringneck, race "semitorquatus", trying to bite off a mouthful of an eucalypt seed (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Margaret River, WA, April 2019]

Near-frontal view of a male Mallee Ringneck chewing on the seed pod of a Cypress pine
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, January 2018]

Male Mallee Ringneck still chewing a seed pod of a Cypress pine
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2023]

Lateral/ventral view of a female Mallee Ringneck chewing on the seed pod of a Cypress pine
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, January 2018]

Like many parrots, Australian Ringnecks are primarily seed-eaters; they feed mostly on grass seeds, but the seeds can also be as large as the fruit of White Cedar trees. Their diet includes the seeds of the noxious weed "Spiny burrgrass" (see photo below).

Lateral view of a male Mallee Ringneck picking off seeds of the noxious weed "Spiny Burrgrass"
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, January 2006]

Lateral portrait of a male Mallee Ringneck feasting on juniper fruit (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Moree, NSW, November 2013]

Mallee Ringneck enjoying the fruit of an introduced juniper in an urban garden (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Moree, NSW, November 2013]

This female Mallee Ringneck is after the fruit of the noxious "African boxthorn" weed (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Lateral view of a female Mallee Ringneck drinking from a water bowl
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2006]

Oops, I think something is seriously wrong here!
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2006]

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.

mallee_20201014.m4a barnardi
(NW NSW)
Calling partner? © MD
mallee_20170920.m4a barnardi
(NW NSW)
Calling partner? © MD
mallee_20230227.mp3 barnardi
(NW NSW)
Arrival (pair) © MD
mallee_20200609.m4a barnardi
(NW NSW)
Warning/departure
(+ others in bkgd)
© MD
mallee_20160308.mp3 barnardi
(NW NSW)
Various (pair) © MD
mallee_20170325.m4a barnardi
(NW NSW)
Various (family of 4) © MD
mallee_20170325_2.m4a barnardi
(NW NSW)
Various (family of 4) © MD
mallee_20141031.mp3 barnardi
(NW NSW)
Begging call © MD
mallee_20141031_1.mp3 barnardi
(NW NSW)
Begging calls © MD
mallee_20190204.m4a barnardi
(NW NSW)
Begging calls © MD
mallee_20161216.mp3 barnardi
(Ctl NSW)
Immature feeding © MD
mallee_20161216_2.mp3 barnardi
(Ctl NSW)
Immature feeding © MD
mallee_20140929_2.mp3 barnardi
(NW NSW)
? © MD

More Australian Ringneck sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

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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