Bluebonnet Parrot
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Bluebonnet parrot
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  • An Australian Parrot
  • Scientific Name:  Northiella haematogaster
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  4 sub-species in the wild.  3 are kept by aviculturalists = Yellow vented, Red vented, and Naretha.
  • Origin / Distribution:  Semi arid southern Australia. (Naretha Bluebonnets were named after their first known location, namely Naretha in Western Australia.)
  • Habitat In Wild:  Inhabits open woodland in semi arid southern Australia.
  • Status In Wild: ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Yellow vented - Secure.  Red vented - Low.  Naretha  - Rare.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  about 9 - 12 months.
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 6 - 9 months
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx. 15 or more years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  Yes
  • Availability:  Bird dealers
  • Temperament:  The Bluebonnet Parrot can be aggressive even to larger birds so they are best kept as one pair per aviary.  This aggression lowers their popularity as an aviary bird.  Bluebonnets are capable of raising the feathers on their forehead.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour:  Yellow vented  (Approx.) $110,  Red vented approx $160,  Naretha approx $500.
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 300 mm (or approx. 12 inches). Naretha are smaller.
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 100 gms (or approx. 3.5 ozs)

The Bluebonnet is the sole member of the NORTHIELLA  genus.

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements:  Refer to " Housing Birds " web page for general details on the housing of Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

The Bluebonnet Parrot can be aggressive even to larger birds so they are best kept as one pair per aviary.  Double wiring or solid partitions between adjoining aviaries is recommended.

Like to chew on timber therefore metal frames with strong wire / mesh are advisable.  Recommended aviary size is about 1000 mm wide, 3000 - 4000 mm long and 2100 mm high. (3' x10-13' x 7' high).  Bluebonnets do well with the aviary roof being fully covered with transparent or opaque corrugated roofing material.  Adequate shelter section must be provided to protect against draughts, strong winds and heavy rains.  Perches or branches placed at both ends of the aviary helps to prevent collisions or impacts into the ends of the aviary.  A concrete floor is recommended. Bluebonnets spend a lot of time on the ground so care has to be taken to prevent parasite contamination.  Bluebonnets love to bathe, so make sure wet spots are allowed to dry and the floor is kept clean.

Non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. Natural branches of various diameters, and placed at various angles, can be used for perches. These natural perches may be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds may chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.

Diet / Feeding:  Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for general details on the feeding of Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

In the wild the Bluebonnet parrot consumes a wide range of seeds of grasses, shrubs and trees, herbaceous plants as well as nuts, berries, wide range of fruits and vegetable matter.  Insects and insect larvae may form part of their natural diet.

Aviary birds require a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables, green leafy vegetables as well as a quality seed mix.

In the aviary these birds need a quality "small parrot mix" or "budgie seed mix" supplemented with plain canary seed and small amount of sunflower seed.  Seeding grasses along with some leafy green vegetables such as silverbeet, spinach or endive.  A variety of fruits e.g. apple, pear, orange and a variety of seasonally available vegetables should be offered as part of their daily food intake.  Sprouted or soaked seed can be offered.  Some birds will consume insects such as mealworms, especially if they have young in the nest.  The mealworm larvae, pupa and beetle can be offered.  The insects provide a good source of easily digested protein.

Commercial parrot pellets may form part of a balanced food intake.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.
All Australian parrots will breed in hollow logs.
Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is carefully cleaned to ensure it has minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.
If a valued pair of birds is successful in a specific size/style nest-box and that nest-box has to be replaced for some reason, make or purchase one as close as possible to the same style, materials and size as their original one.

  • Nesting months: July/August to December
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth 500 - 600 mm (or approx. 20 - 24 inches)
      Log internal diameter approx. 150 - 200 mm. (or approx. 6 - 8 inches)
      Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 150 - 200 mm square (or approx. 6 - 8 inches square)
      Diameter of entrance hole  approx. 50 - 65 mm (or approx. 2 - 2.5 inches)
      Inspection hole (square or round) 100mm (or approx.  4 inches)
      A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
      Location & height of log / nest-box = in a sheltered part of the aviary and at about 1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
    • Angle of log or nest box = 45 degrees through to vertical.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole.  Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening of about of about 50- 65 mm (about 2 - 2.5 inches) diameter and about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Bluebonnets like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 1.  Eggs per nest 4 - 6.  Incubation approx. 20 - 24 days.  Fledge approx. 4 - 5 weeks.  Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.

Young Bluebonnets should be removed to another aviary as soon as they are fully independent due to possible aggression from one or both parent birds.

Breeding pairs of Bluebonnets develop strong pair-bonds.  To obtain compatible adult pairs it is best to start with many young birds, place them in a large aviary and let them choose their own partner.  As they choose a partner, isolate that "pair" and place them in an aviary of their own.  Allow them to fully sexually and physically mature before allowing them to breed.  Hens should be at least 12 months of age before breeding to obtain the best long term breeding results.

The four types of Bluebonnets can hybridize with each other as well as some other species of parrots.  Hybrids should not be allowed to occur in captive populations.  Accidental hybrids should be hand tamed upon leaving the nest and sold as pets .(i.e.  Never to be used as breeders.)  Only house one type of bluebonnet per flight.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues:  Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 51 No. 12 Dec 1997 Page 274-278 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 8 Aug 1994 Page 185-186
  • A/A Vol 47 No. 7 July 1993 Page 157-164 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 1 Jan 1992 Page 7-15
  • A/A Vol 41 No. 8 Aug 1987 Page 187-188
  • A/A Vol 31 No. 7 Jul 1977 Page 96
  • A/A Vol 30 No. 6 Jun 1976 Page 99-101 (Naretha)
  • A/A Vol 30 No. 5 May 1976 Page 74-76
  • A/A Vol 30 No. 2 Feb 1976 Page 26-28
  • A/A Vol 22 No 5 May 1968 Page 81-86 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol  8 No 8 Aug 1954 Page 92-94 (Psephotus family).
  • A/A Vol  6 No 12 Dec 1952 Page 148,144.
  • A/A Vol  6 No 7 Jul 1952 Page 82.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 2000 Page 210-213 (Naretha).
  • ABK Vol 11 Issue 2. Apr-May 1998 Page 69-71
  • ABK Vol  3 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 1990 Page 7-10

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