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

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. hooded parrot
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    hooded parrot photo
  • An Australian Parrot                                               (Click on photo to enlarge)
  • Scientific Name:  Psephotus dissimilis
  • Sub Species:  None
  • Origin / Distribution:  Northern Territory.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Dry open eucalypt forest and grasslands.  Areas to include active termite mounds.  Nest in termite mounds, hence its name "ant bed parrot".
  • Status In Wild:  Generally accepted as becoming rare and possibly endangered.  Opinions vary widely as to the actual number of birds in the wild.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure, but not as popular as in the past.  Current increase in interest may be due to the establishment of colour mutations.  The number of pure "normal" colour birds may suffer as a result of the interest in breeding colour mutations.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: 
  • about 12 months
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 6 months onwards.  Full adult plumage is acquired after 12 - 18 months.  
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 15 or more years
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  Yes
  • Availability:  Bird dealers
  • Temperament:  Can be an aggressive bird so it is best housed one pair per aviary.  Use logs or breeding boxes in captivity.  Generally a fairly quiet bird.  They may bathe in the water bowl.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx) $120
  • Description Of Adults:  Photo = Cock bird on left,  hen on right.
  1. Length: Approx. 270 mm (or approx. 11 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo above - top right of page. (Click on photo to enlarge).
  3. Weight: Approx. 50 - 60gms (or approx. 2 ozs)
Similar in appearance to the Golden shouldered parrot.

The Hooded parrot is a member of the PSEPHOTUS genus along with Mulga parrot, Red rumped parrot, Golden shouldered 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.

The Hooded parrot is a 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.  Solid wall between the pairs is ideal.  An aviary of between 3 - 4 metres long is recommended.  Minimum aviary length is 2 metres (6 - 7 feet).  Hoodeds generally do little or no damage to timber fittings or to a timber aviary frame.
If one pair is housed in a suspended cage, the size should be about 2000mm long x 900mm wide x 1000mm high (6-7 ft x 3 ft x 3.5 ft).  A solid wall should separate each cage.

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

Non-toxic leafy branches, such as eucalypts, 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 Hooded 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 (e.g. silverbeet, endive, spinach) are beneficial.  A variety of fruits (e.g. apple) and vegetables (e.g. corn, carrot and peas) should form part of a balanced diet.  Green leafy vegetables such as silverbeet or endive can be offered.

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: March to May and September to November (Same as Golden Shouldered 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.

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 about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.
Some breeders add a wooden "tunnel" to the opening of the log or nest box to mimic the tunnel entrance the birds dig in termite mounds.  To help stimulate the hen into breeding condition, this entry tunnel can be "plugged" with a mixture of materials such as peat, clay, sand.  The moist material is placed in the tunnel and allowed to dry.  This is only done at the start of each breeding season not repeated if the birds double clutch.  The birds will dig through the material into their nestbox.  The more often the birds do this task, the better and quicker they become.
The nestbox has a typical parrot nest material placed in the nestbox.
In colder climates, additional heating to the nestbox may be necessary to maximize breeding results.
Although they were originally only found in tropical Australia, they have been bred for many generations in the cooler southern states and are fairly "domesticated" and usually tolerate the cooler climate fairly well.

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 or 2.  Eggs per nest 3 - 6.  Incubation approx.19 - 23 days.  Fledge approx. 4 - 5 weeks.  Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks.

The young Hooded parrots should be removed from the parents once they are fully independent to avoid possible aggression from a parent bird.

Best results seem to come from birds being "paired" as young uncoloured birds and allowing them to grow and mature together.  Re-pairing adult birds may be difficult with the new "pair" being incompatible.
Current increase in interest may be due to the establishment of colour mutations.  Care will have to be taken to ensure pure "normal" colour birds are maintained.  None of the current colour mutations are an improvement on the original plumage colours.
Closed leg rings can be placed on the young while they are in the nest.  Closed leg rings are essential if mutations are being bred.

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 57 No. 6 Jun 2003 Page 115.
  • A/A Vol 52 No. 3 Mar 1998 Page 65-67
  • A/A Vol 51 No. 4 Apr 1997 Page 73-77 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 6 Jun 1992 Page 129-135
  • A/A Vol 45 No. 9 Sept 1991 Page 219-224 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 42 No. 4 Apr 1988 Page 83-84
  • 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 39 No. 11 Nov 1985 Page 273-277
  • A/A Vol 34 No. 3 Mar 1980 Page 44-48
  • A/A Vol 26 No. 5 May 1972 Page 70-75 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 20 No 6 Jun 1966 Page 77-78, 90.
  • A/A Vol 15 No. 1 Jan 1961 Page 9.
  • A/A Vol 10 No 12 Dec 1956 Page 140-141.
  • A/A Vol  8 No 8 Aug 1954 Page 92-94 (Psephotus family).
  • A/A Vol  8 No 6 Jun 1954 Page 65-66.
  • A/A Vol  7 No 8 Aug 1953 Page 95-96.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 8 Aug 1950 Page 100.
  • A/A Vol  1  No 6 Jun 1947.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2005 Page 531-533.
  • ABK Vol 16 Issue 8 Apr-May 2003 Page 446-448 (Blue Hooded).
  • ABK Vol 15 Issue 1 .Feb-Mar 2002 Page 30
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 2001 Page 380-385.
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 2001 Page 386-387 (Mutations).
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 2000 Page 214
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 8. Apr-May 1997 Page 371-372
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1996 Page 187
  • ABK Vol  8 Issue 8. Apr-May 1995 Page 377-378
  • ABK Vol  5 Issue 3. Jun-July 1992 Page 112-116
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1989 Page 378-380

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