Modest Parrots

The Modest Parrot (Psittacella modesta) is native to New Guinea, the mountains of Vogelkop Peninsula, Irian Jaya, in Indonesia, where they are uncommon, but widely distributed through its range.

Their habitat includes montane forest areas, edges of forests and tall secondary vegetation between 1,700 and 2,800 m (4,300 and 9,300 ft).

These rare and shy parrots are only occasionally encountered as they are mostly found in uninhabited areas – although if found feeding, they can be surprisingly approachable.

They usually occur either singly or in pairs. They prefer lower branches. They are difficult to detect in trees and bushes as their plumage and slow movements present an excellent camouflage.


The Modest Parrot averages 5.5 inches or 14 cm in length.

Males: The general plumage is green; abdomen and under wing-coverts are yellowish-green. Its head is dark brown and the nape and back of head are olive-yellow with dark brown edging. The throat and breast pale brownish-olive. The bend of wing is blue and the under tail-coverts are red. The underside of the tail is grey. This parrot has a narrow grey periophthalmic ring, The irises are orange-red and the feet grey. The upper beak is bluish-grey with pale tips.

Female as male, but with brown head becoming olive-brown on nape; breast orange with each feather edged blackish; sides of abdomen with yellow and greenish-brown edging.

Young Bird (Immatures) look similar to females, but the chest is greenish-yellow and the feathers are edged blackish.

Flight: Fairly slow


Snow Mountains Modest Parrot (Psittacella m. collaris – Oglivie-Grant 1914)

  • Description: Looks similar to the nominate form (modesta), but the nape (lower back of the head) is of an indistinct yellowish collar, which greatly varies from bird to bird. The sides of the head and throat are more dark brownish-grey. Female as like modesta hens, but have a variable yellowish tinge to the nape.
    • Average Length: 14 cm (5.5 ins)
  • Distribution: Endemic to the southern slopes of Snow Mountains, Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

Rand’s Modest Parrot (Psittacella m. subcollaris – Rand 1941)

  • Description: Looks similar to the nominate form (modesta), but is generally slightly darker. They have a more distinct yellow collar to the nape (lower back of the head). The head and throat are dark greyish-brown. Female as modesta hens, but have a darker head. Some birds with variable yellowish tinge to the nape.
    • Average Length: 14 cm (5.5 ins)
  • Distribution: Endemic to the northern slopes of Snow Mountains, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, east to Mount Hagen and Mount Giluwe, Papua New Guinea. Note: Specimen from Mount Hagen and Mount Giluwe possibly belong to an as yet undescribed subspecies.

Diet / Food:

Their natural diet consists of (but is not limited to) a variety of seeds (including sprouted), various fruits, berries, plant matter.

Call / Vocalization:

These quiet parrots only make soft, plaintive peep sounds that are seldom heard.

Species Names:

Scientific: Psittacella modesta modesta … English: Modest Parrot … Dutch: Kleine Tijgerparkiet … German: Kleiner Bindensittich … French: Petit psittacelle de Modest

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