The range of the Golden-shouldered Parrot, Psephotus chrysopterygius, is limited to the southern Cape York Peninsula in Australia; while its sub-species, the Hooded Parrot, occupies the very north-eastern region of the Northern Territory.
These two races are nearly identical – except the male hooded parrot has black below the eye, while the male golden-shouldered parrot only has black above the eye.
This attractive little parrot is related to the more common Red-rumped Parrot. It is considered to be the nominate species of the Hooded Parrot (as mentioned above) and the apparently extinct Paradise Parrot of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia.
It measures 26 cm (10.4 ins) long and weighs between 54-56 g.
His forehead and lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) are lemon-yellow, turning yellowish-green-blue on the upper cheeks. The lower cheeks, throat, breast, sides of body, rump and upper tail-coverts are turquoise. The crown and nape are black. The hindneck are brownish-black with blue edging. The chin has a greyish tinge. The back, lower back and lesser wing-coverts are greyish-brown. The abdomen, under tail-coverts and thighs are orange-red with a white base and edging. The bend of the wing, primary wing feathers, outer webs of primaries (= longest wing feathers), outermost secondaries (shorter, upper “arm” feathers) and under wing-coverts are blue. The inner secondaries are greyish-brown with blue tinge to outer webs. The median wing-coverts are yellow. The upperside of the middle tail-feathers are bronze-green with blue-black tips. The outer tail-feathers are greenish-blue with whitish-blue tips. The tail underside is white-bluish. The bill is grey-horn colored. They have narrow grey periophthalmic rings and brown irises. The feet are greyish-brown.
The plumage is mainly a dull green with a faint bronze tinge. Her forehead and lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) are dull whitish-yellow. Her chin and cheeks have a light grey tinge. The lower breast and upper sides to body are tinged with turquoise. Her rump and upper tail-coverts are dull turquoise. The lower sides to her body, abdomen and under tail-coverts are whitish and washed with greyish-blue. The center of her abdomen has a reddish tinge. The bend of her wing, under wing-coverts, primary wing feathers, outer webs of the primaries (= longest wing feathers) and outermost secondaries (shorter, upper “arm” feathers) are pale blue. There is a light stripe to the underside of her wings.
Look like females. However, young males have turquoise cheeks and a deeper brown tinge to crown and nape. The abdomen have a deeper rose-pink tinge and the under-wing stripe is present. The bill is more yellowish. They attain their adult plumage when they are about 16 months old
Habitat / Breeding:
The Golden-shouldered Parrot lives in open forest, where it feeds on small grass seeds, principally those of firegrass. An important habitat requirement is the provision of terrestrial termite mounds, which the bird uses for nesting in. This has lead to the parrot also being known as the Antbed Parrot. They will preferentially seek out taller mounds (up to 2 m high), and will dig a burrow into them when the mound has been softened by the rains. A long tunnel is dug down into the mound, and capped off by a nesting chamber. The clutch size is between 3-9 eggs, which are incubated for 20 days. The mound regulates the temperature in the chamber, keeping it high enough that the eggs can be left unattended while the parents feed.
Status in the Wild:
The Golden-shouldered Parrot is listed as endangered (CITES I). The species has a restricted range and suffers from a variety of threats, including predation by feral cats, tourist disturbance, and a change in burning regime in the grasslands upon whose seeds it depends. The wild population is around 3000 birds, with around 1500 held in captivity in Australia.
Genus: Scientific: Psephotus … English: Red-backed Parakeets … Dutch: Roodrugparkieten … German: Singsittiche … French: Perruche chantant
Species: Scientific: Psephotus chrysopterygius … English: Golden-shouldered Parrot, Antbed Parrot … Dutch: Geelschouderparkiet, Goudschouderparkiet … German: Goldschultersittich … French: Perruche aux ailes d’or