Parrots As Pets

The princess parrot has the scientific name of Polytelis alexandrae. The subtle shading of green, blue and pink in the plumage makes the princess parrot a truly striking bird. 'Polytelis' is a Greek word meaning magnificent and the 'alexandrae' is in honour of the Danish princess, Alexandra who married Edward Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII. Other common names include spinifex parrot, rose-throated parrot, Princess of Wales parrot and Queen Alexandra parrot. There are three mutations of the Princess parrot; blue, lutino and albino.

Princess Parrot(52988)Credit: Wikimedia

The natural environment of the princess parrot is the western portion of central Australia. The terrain consists of undulating hills, sand dunes, mountain ranges, spinifex and gibber plains. This is a remote area and sparsely populated by humans.

This species is a mix of pretty pastel shades but they combine harmoniously. The mantle, back and wings are a pale olive-green. The rump of the females is a grey-blue becoming more slate-blue on the lower back. The head is a pale blue-grey and the throat, cheeks and chin rose-pink as are the thighs. The ventral surfaces are grey-green and the wing coverts a brighter yellow-green. The central tail feathers are bordered with rose pink. Both sexes have a red beak although the males' is a deeper red. The male also has a deeper blue on the head and more colour in the rump. The tail may be up to 9cm longer. The male has a spatula tip or 'spatule' whereby the third primary flight feather is slightly elongated and bends upward slightly.

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The princess parrot is found in small flocks. They do not stay in an area but follow supplies of food.

In their native regions, the princess parrot eats seeds from a variety of native plants. Spinifex and a variety of eucalypts are included in their diet as are acacia blossoms and berries.

The cock bird courts the female by continually calling to her. He will jerk his head from side to side, the pupils of the eye will contract and expand and he will raise the feathers on the top of the head. Preferred nest sites are tall gums along dry water courses. A colony of ten or more birds will nest in a single tree.

The hen may lay two clutches in a season. This is more likely to take place if something happens to the first clutch. A clutch of 3 to 6 white eggs are incubated by the hen for about 20 days. The chicks stay in the nest for the next 5 weeks before becoming independent at 6 or 7 weeks.

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Princess parrots are popular in aviculture as they are quiet and gentle natured. Princess parrots will not appreciate being kept on their own and should have a companion or two of its own kind. It needs an aviary of at least four metres in length. Breeding in captivity is more successful if a small colony is kept in a large aviary.

They are not loud and raucous like some parrot species but are curious and quite friendly. They are also reasonably hardy so it is no surprise that they are popular as cage birds. Princess parrots may live for twenty to thirty years.


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