Psittacella / Tiger Parrots


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The Madarasz’s Parrots (Psittacella madaraszi madaraszi) are native to the mountains of south-eastern New Guinea, including Wharton mountain chain and Herzog Mountains of Papua. They inhabit forest areas, the edges of forests, as well as cleared areas with remnant forest and tall secondary vegetation between 1,150 m (4,500 ft) and 2,500 m (8,300 ft).

These shy parrots are rare and can only be found in localities. They are seldom observed as they are mostly found in uninhabited areas.

They usually occur singly or in pairs, and are often found with Painted Parrot (Psittacella picta) on feeding trees. Their plumage presents a perfect camouflage in the foliage. The fact that they are usually slow moving and sit still for extended periods makes them even more difficult to detect. The easiest time to see them is at dusk, when they fly from their foraging place to their night roost usually located in the interior of forests. Their breeding season is estimated to begin in September (in their natural habitat).

They are endangered due to habitat destruction.



The Madarasz’s Parrots averages 14 cm or 5.5 inches in length (including tail). The wing length is about 83 – 95 mm or 3.25 – 3.75 inches.

Males: The general plumage is green. The head is brown and the crown, back of the crown and nape (lower back of the head) has a dull yellow streaking. The abdomen and under wing-coverts are yellowish-green. The throat and breast are pale olive-brownish. The bend of the wing is blue. The lower back feathers have a black edging. The under tail-coverts are red. The underside of the tail is grey. They have narrow grey eye rings (periophthalmic ring). The irises are orange-red, the feet are grey and the bill is greyish-blue with pale tips.

Female as male, but with green head; forehead with strong blue tinge; crown feathers black with broad green edging becoming orange on back of crown and nape; breast green with olive tinge; back and rump yellowish-green with blackish edging.

Immatures as female, but they have brownish-yellow irises.


Species, including Nominate Form

Madarasz’s Parrot (Psittacella madaraszi) – Nominate form

Huon Parrot ( Psittacella m. huonensis)

  • Description: Looks similar to the nominate species (madaraszi), but crown with yellowish-brown tinge. Females as madaraszi hens, but the edging to the back of the crown and nape (lower back of the head) is green. The black edging to the back and rump is not so distinct.
    • Average length: 14 cm (5.5 ins)- from head to tip of tailWing length: 91 – 94 mm (3.5 – 3.75 ins)

    Distribution: Endemic to Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea.

Hallstrom’s Parrot (Psittacella m. hallstromi)

  • Description: Looks similar to the nominate species (madaraszi), but generally slightly darker. The crown, back of crown and nape have a narrow yellow streaking. Females look similar to madaraszi hens, but their crown feathers are black with broader green edging turning dark orange on the back of crown and nape. Immatures look like female, but the edging to the back of the head and nape are paler and narrower. There is some faint yellow and brownish edging to the breast. The black edging to the back and rump is not so distinct. The irises are brownish-yellow.
    • Average length: 14.5 cm (5.75 ins) – from head to tip of tailWing length: 83 – 103 mm (3.25 – 4 ins)

    Distribution: Endemic to central New Guinea from Hindenburg Range east to Okapa area in Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea.

Greater Madarasz’s Parrot (Psittacella m. major)

  • Description: Looks similar to the nominate species (madaraszi), but slightly larger. Females as madaraszi hens, but slightly larger.
    • Average Length: 15 cm (6 ins) – from head to tip of tail.Wing length: 90 – 102 mm (3.5 – 4 ins)

    Distribution: Endemic to the Weyland Mountains and northern slopes of Snow Mountains, Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

Diet / Feeding

Their natural diet consists of seeds (sprouted and unsprouted); fruits, including hard berries; leaves, buds and other vegetable matter; probably some insects / insect larvae too.


Call / Vocalization

These parrots are mostly quiet. Their plaintive call is not easily heard, but reportedly sounds like trisyllabic wee-hoo-huh and ee-o-ee whistling sounds.


Species Names

Scientific: Psittacella madaraszi madaraszi aka Psittacella modesta madaraszi … English: Madarasz’s Parrot … Dutch: Madarasz’ Tijgerparkiet … German: Madaraszs Bindensittich … French: Psittacelle de Madarasz


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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