The Australian King Parrot
The Australian King Parrot

Briggsy’s birds: A spectacular parrot

THE Australian King Parrot is probably the most spectacular of our local birds.

The male is very striking with a bright red head and underparts, red bill, yellow eye ring, green wings and back and has a bright blue rump. The female has a green head and breast but is otherwise similar to the male.

It is a species that mates for life and is usually found in pairs or family groups with four or five immature birds.

Young birds will pester their parents with a persistent begging call that will stimulate the parent to regurgitate food from their crop.

They feed on seeds and fruit in thickly forested areas and are usually high in the canopy. Often it is only their call, a high pitched and repeated whistle, that lets you know they are around.

It is quite a large bird at 42cm and in flight the long tail extends well beyond the body.

They can be quite acrobatic when flying, making sudden turns and swoops as they search for food.

They nest in deep hollows of old trees using decayed wood dust as a soft bed to lay their eggs on.

The entrance can be up to 10 metres from the ground but the nest itself will be several metres below that providing concealment and protection from predators.

It can take up to seven weeks from laying the eggs to the young birds taking flight and even then the parents still have to feed them until they learn to feed themselves.

Seen at many places around Bundaberg including the Botanic Gardens and Quuens Park.

One thing you can do to help our bird species is to put out clean water so they can get a drink and have a bath.

Allan Briggs is the secretary of BirdLife Capricornia, contact him at