Currently, four subspecies of Australian Ringneck are recognized, all of which have a distinct range and have been described as distinct species in the past. However, as of 1993, the Twenty-eight and Conclurry Parrot were treated as subspecies of the Port Lincoln Parrot and the Mallee Ringneck, respectively.
Some authorities consider the Port Lincoln and Mallee Ringneck Parrots as one, as these two species readily interbred at the contact zone. Also, some authorities, including Ferdinand Bauer, place this species in the genus Platycercus – Rosellas.
Several other subspecies have been described, but are considered synonyms with one of the above subspecies. B. z. occidentalis has been synomised with B. z. zonarius. Intermediates exist between all subspecies except for between B. z. zonarius and B. z. macgillivrayi.
|Port Lincoln Parrot or Port Lincoln Ringneck Barnardius z. zonarius aka Platycercus zonarius – Shaw, 1805||Mallee Ringneck Parrots / Barnard’s Parakeets Paler Mallee Ringneck Parrots Barnardius zonarius barnardi – Vigors and Horsfield, 1827|
|Range: Common from Port Lincoln in the south east to Alice Springs in the north east, and from the Karri and Tingle forests of South Western Australia up to the Pilbara district.||Range: Inhabits New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.|
|Description: Dull black head. Back, rump and wings are brilliant green. The throat and breast are bluish-green.||Description: Bright green crown and nape (back of the neck) and blush cheek-patches. Prominent red frontal band (over the beak). The underparts of the Mallee Ringneck are turquoise-green with an irregular orange-yellow band across the abdomen. The back and mantle are deep blackish-blue.|
|Similar Species: Looks similar to the Twenty Eight Parrot. The difference between these two is that the Port Lincoln has a yellow abdomen while the Twenty Eight Parrot has a green abdomen. Also, the Twenty Eight Parrot has a prominent red frontal band. The other subspecies have bright green crowns and napes (lower back of the neck) and blush cheek-patches.|
|Calls: Port Lincolns have a high, clear repeated whistle call. Also soft chattering when perched / roosting.||Calls: Contact call described as piping. Their alarm call is harsh and metallic. In flight makes a disyllabic series of notes. Also soft chattering when perched / roosting.|
|Twenty Eight Parrot – named in imitation of its distinctive ‘twentee-eight’ call Barnardius zonarius semitorquatus – Quoy and Gaimard, 1830||Cloncurry Parrot Barnardius zonarius macgillivrayi, formerly Platycercus barnardi macgillivray – North, 1900|
|Range: Found in the south western forests of coastal and subcoastal Western Australia.||Range: Found from the Lake Eyre basin in the Northern Territory to the North gulf of Queensland in Australia.|
|Description: Has a dull black head. The back, rump and wings are brilliant green. The throat and breast are bluish-green.||Description: Plumage generally pale green, with a uniform pale yellow band across the abdomen.|
|Similar Species ID: Looks similar to the Port Lincoln Parrot; except the Port Lincoln has a yellow abdomen while the Twenty Eight Parrot has a green abdomen. Also, the Twenty Eight Parrot has also a prominent red frontal band. The other subspecies have bright green crowns and napes (lower back of the neck) and blush cheek-patches.||Similar Species ID: Looks similar to the Mallee Ringneck; however, the Cloncurry Parrot has a yellow and the plumage is a lighter green color. Also, it lacks the red band that can be seen in the Mallee Ringneck.|
|Calls: Makes a distinctive ‘twentee-eight’ call. Also soft chattering when perched / roosting.||Calls: Calls described as “ringing” sounds. Also soft chattering when perched / roosting.|