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

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. golden shouldered parrot
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  • An Australian Parrot
  • Scientific Name:  Psephotus chrysopterygius
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  None
  • Origin / Distribution:  Cape York Peninsula in Northern Queensland.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Lightly wooded savannah grasslands and woodlands.  Prefers to nest in termite mounds.
  • Status In Wild:  Becoming rare and possibly endangered.  Loss of suitable habitat may be the main cause for the birds decline in the wild.  A Recovery Program has been set up to help reverse or stop the decline in the wild.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:   Numbers are low.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  9 - 12 months
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 15 or more years
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  ?
  • Availability:  Bird dealers.  One of the most attractive of the Australian parrots.
  • Temperament:  Harder to breed than the Hooded parrot.  Can be an aggressive bird so it is best housed one pair per aviary.  Will use a log or nest box in captivity.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $250
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 260 mm (or approx. 10.25 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 55 gms (or approx. 2 ozs)
The Golden shouldered parrot is a member of the PSEPHOTUS genus along with the Mulga parrot, Red rumped parrot, Hooded parrot and the extinct Paradise parrot.  The Hooded, Golden shouldered and the extinct Paradise parrot are often referred to as termite mound parrots as they nest in termite mounds in the wild.

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.

Good intermediate level bird.  Good breeders but should be kept one pair per aviary as they can be aggressive.  Care should be taken if pairs are housed in flights side by side.  Double wiring between flights must be considered.  An aviary of between 3 - 4 metres long is recommended.  Minimum aviary length is 2 metres (6 - 7 feet).  Golden Shouldered parrots generally do little or no damage to timber fittings or to a timber aviary frame.

Must not be housed with the Hooded parrot as hybridization may occur.

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.

The Golden Shouldered parrot does well on a fairly basic diet.  A good quality "Budgie mix" with some added sunflower seed is adequate.  Do not feed out too much sunflower seed as this can contribute to overweight birds.  Soaked or sprouted seed can be offered.  Seeding grasses are an important green food.  Leafy green vegetables such as silverbeet or endive are beneficial.  A variety of fruits and vegetables should form part of a balanced diet.

The seed pods, flowers and fruiting bodies on native trees such as eucalypts are eagerly consumed.  These items provide exercise and entertainment as well as some nutritional value.

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

Nesting:  A basic overview only.  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 cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

All Australian parrots will breed in hollow logs.

  • Nesting months: Mar - May and Sept - Nov  (Same as Hooded Parrot)
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  400 - 500 mm (or approx. 16 - 20 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 150 - 200 mm. (or approx. 6 - 8 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 150 - 200mm square (or approx. 6- 8 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx  60 mm (or approx  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 and height of log / nest-box = high in the covered part of the aviary but not too close to the roof to be affected by heat from the roof in the summer months.
    • Angle of log or nest box = Log or nest box can be vertical or on an angle of up to 45 degrees.
  • 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.

Golden Shouldered parrots prefer a nest that has a tunnel entrance and for the internal diameter of the nest to be just wide enough to fit the clutch of young.  The tunnel entrance can be made from a hollow branch with an internal diameter of about 50 - 60 mm or about 2 - 2.5 inches.  The tunnel entrance probably mimics the natural tunnel these parrots dig in the termite mounds.

In the wild these parrots can leave their termite mound nest during the night and the young will survive due to the heat produced by and retained within the mound.  In the aviary, careful observation must be taken to ensure the natural habit of nightly vacating of the nest is not occurring with your breeding birds.  If this was to occur in the aviary the young will probably die of cold.  Many people rig up a heating system to provide a gentle heat to keep the nest warm during the night for about the first 3 weeks of the young birds development.  After about the first 3 weeks the amount of heat can be reduced.  An alternative to the provision of a heat source is to insulate the nest with a safe non-toxic material.  This precaution may be of most importance in the cooler southern Australian States.

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. 

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 1.  Eggs per nest  3 - 5.  Incubation approx. 19 days.  Fledge approx. 4 - 5 weeks.  Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks.

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 58 No. 1 Jan 2004 Page 16-20.
  • A/A Vol 50 No. 9 Sept 1996 Page 216-217 (Nest inspections)
  • A/A Vol 49 No. 9 Sept 1995 Page 218.
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 8 Aug 1994 Page 190-191
  • A/A Vol 47 No. 5 May 1993 Page 111-112
  • A/A Vol 47 No. 1 Jan 1993 Page 8-11 (Canary Islands)
  • A/A Vol 45 No. 1 Jan 1991 Page 7-8
  • A/A Vol 41 No. 1 Jan 1987 Page 8-18 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 40 No. 10 Oct 1986 Page 250-251 (Nest boxes)
  • A/A Vol 34 No. 2 Feb 1980 Page 33-39
  • A/A Vol 26 No. 5 May 1972 Page 70-75 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol  9 No 8 Aug 1955 Page 89-90, 96.
  • A/A Vol  8 No 8 Aug 1954 Page 92-94 (Psephotus family).
  • A/A Vol  8 No 6 Jun 1954 Page 65-66.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1997 Page 477-479
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1997 Page 321-322
  • ABK Vol  9  Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1996 Page 182-186
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1989 Page 378-380

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