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12

Blue Bonnet

(Northiella haematogaster)
Alternate name(s): "Greater Blue Bonnet", "Crimson-bellied Parrot", "Yellow-vented Parakeet", "Bulloak Parrot", "Red-bellied Blue Bonnet", "Naretha Parrot", "Red-vented Blue Bonnet"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "haematorrhous": "bulaybulay" [yuwaalaraay]

Size: 27-34 cm
Weight: 50-100 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Blue Bonnet 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 "haematogaster"

This race is also called the "Yellow-vented Blue Bonnet".

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Blue Bonnet; the solid red on the belly characterises the bird as a male; the all-yellow vent is specific to race haematogaster (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kilcowera Station, between Thargomindah and Hungerford, QLD, June 2020]

Near-frontal and lateral view of two male Blue Bonnets perched in a dead tree (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a male Blue Bonnet (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a pair of Blue Bonnets; male on the left, female on the right
[Lake Bindegolly NP, near Thargomindah, QLD, June 2019]

PAIR

Near-lateral view of a pair of Blue Bonnets perched on a fence; female on the left, male on the right
(photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Lake Albacutya, VIC, October 2018]

Near-lateral view of a pair of Blue Bonnets perched on a fence; female on the left, male on the right
(photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Lake Albacutya, VIC, October 2018]

Lateral view of a pair of Blue Bonnets perched on a fence; female on the left, male on the right
(photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Lake Albacutya, VIC, October 2018]

Sex unknown

Near-dorsal view of a Blue Bonnet (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kilcowera Station, between Thargomindah and Hungerford, QLD, June 2020]

Dorsal view of a Blue Bonnet (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kilcowera Station, between Thargomindah and Hungerford, QLD, June 2020]

Race "haematorrhous"

This race is also called the "Red-vented Blue Bonnet".

ADULT

MALE

Close-up lateral view of a male Blue Bonnet hiding in a tree
[Near Bellata, NSW, November 2015]

Lateral view of a male Blue Bonnet
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, September 2015]

Ventral view of a male Blue Bonnet, with a clear view of the richness of colours and patterns
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Blue Bonnet - note the solid-red belly patch
[Near Bellata, NSW, November 2015]

Near-frontal view of a female Blue Bonnet - note the scalloped red belly patch
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, July 2012]

Lateral view of a female(?) Blue Bonnet on the ground (photo courtesy of C. Kellenberg)

PAIR

Frontal view of a pair of Blue Bonnets; male on the left, female on the right (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Two pairs of Blue Bonnets enjoying the late afternoon sun in wintertime; males left and right, two females in between
[Near Bellata, NSW, June 2009]

Pair of Blue Bonnets in a White Cedar tree in wintertime; the bird on the left is a male, the one on the right a female
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, June 2006]

Lateral view of a pair of Blue Bonnets hiding in a dense shrub
[Pilliga Wetlands Walk, NSW, November 2019]

Sex unknown

Dorsal view of a Blue Bonnet
[Bourke, NSW, September 2012]

Lateral view of a Blue Bonnet in-flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2015]

Lateral view of a pair of Blue Bonnets in-flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2015]

Dorsal view of two Blue Bonnets on the point of landing in a tree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile Blue Bonnet
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Aug - Dec Eggs: 4 - 6 Incubation period: 18 - 20 days Fledging age: 28 - 35 days

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

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

Type: Tree hollow Material: ? Height above ground: 2? - 6 m

Pair of Blue Bonnets near a tree hollow that they inspected for its suitability for nesting
[Pilliga Wetlands Walk, NSW, May 2020]

Eggs

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

Size: 23 x 19 mm Colour: White Shape: Rounded

Behaviour

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

 

Bonding ritual between a pair of Blue Bonnets: While incubating their eggs, and not leaving the nest hollow, the female will rely on the male to feed her - so beforehand she tests his reliability as a provider of food (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kilcowera Station, between Thargomindah and Hungerford, QLD, June 2020]

Bonding ritual between a pair of Blue Bonnets: While incubating their eggs, and not leaving the nest hollow, the female will rely on the male to feed her - so beforehand she tests his reliability as a provider of food (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kilcowera Station, between Thargomindah and Hungerford, QLD, June 2020]

Blue Bonnets are the shiest parrots in our area that we have spotted so far. Being exclusively ground-feeding, they are vulnerable to attacks by predators.

Female Blue Bonnet perched in a casuarina tree, surveying its surroundings before going down to feed on a paddock
(photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, April 2013]

Our observations in the Narrabri area suggest that Blue Bonnets live in small family units of up to about 10 birds; larger groups/flocks have been seen by us further inland.

NB: Breeders report that Blue Bonnets do not mix well with other species of parrots in aviaries.

Blue Bonnets on their roost (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kilcowera Station, between Thargomindah and Hungerford, QLD, June 2020]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Like many parrots, Blue Bonnets are seed-eaters; primarily they feed on grass seeds, but they will not shun bigger seeds either, when available (see below).

Blue Bonnet feeding on seeds (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Goschen Bush Reserve, VIC, September 2019]

Blue Bonnets feasting on sunflower kernels
[Near Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Family of Blue Bonnets making use of a submerged lawn for both food and water
[Burren Junction Bore Bath, NSW, January 2020]

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.

bluebon_20140226.mp3 haematorrhous
(NW NSW)
Warning calls © MD
bluebon_20150528.mp3 haematorrhous
(NW NSW)
Warning/depart. (group of 4) © MD
bluebon_20141119.mp3 haematorrhous
(NW NSW)
Alarm/departure (pair) © MD
bluebon_20141206.mp3 haematorrhous
(NW NSW)
Squabbling © MD
bluebon_20200114.m4a haematorrhous
(NW NSW)
"Babbling"? (roosting in shrub) © MD
bluebon_20200114_2.m4a haematorrhous
(NW NSW)
"Babbling"? (roosting in shrub); some wind noise © 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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