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

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. king parrot
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    photo of King parrot
  • An Australian Parrot          (Hen on lower perch)        (Click on photo to enlarge)
  • Scientific Name:  Alisterus scapularis
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  2,  Alisterus scapularis scapularis and Alisterus scapularis minor.
  • Origin / Distribution:  Alisterus scapularis scapularis = East coast of Australia from North Queensland down to Victoria.  Alisterus scapularis minor = Queensland, Townsville and north of Townsville.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Prefer densely forested areas, such as wet sclerophyll forest as well as eucalypt forest as well as surrounding secondary vegetation. Will use farmland, residential areas, parks and gardens, to collect food.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure, subject to preservation of suitable habitat.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  about 3 years of age
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 15 - 18 months.  Full adult plumage may take up to 3 years.  
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 15 or more years. Long lived.
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  None established.
  • Availability:  Bird dealers.  Very popular bird due to its attractive colour.
  • Temperament:  Very popular bird with a good temperament.  Suitable for experienced bird breeders (not a good beginner's bird).  The hens are generally the dominant bird.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $220
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx 420 - 430 mm (or approx 16.5 - 17 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo above - top right of page. (Click on photo to enlarge)
  3. Weight: Approx. 200 - 230 gms (or approx. 7 - 8 ozs)
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 King Parrot is a large bird and prefer a large aviary.  Minimum  aviary length should be 3 metres (10 feet) but an aviary of  5 - 6 metres (16 - 20 feet) long is ideal.  Width 1200 mm (4 feet) x 2100 mm (7 feet) high is recommended.

To encourage the pair to breed, the log or nest should be hung in a sheltered darkened part of the aviary.  This is usually at the back of the aviary under non-transparent roofing material.

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.

Natural diet in the wild includes seeds, fruits, berries, nuts and blossoms.

In the aviary the King Parrot requires: Basic seed is Small parrot mix or Budgie mix with sunflower seed, safflower and plain canary seed.  A variety of fruits, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and a variety of seasonally available vegetables are essential in a balanced diet.  Almonds are commonly used.  Corn-on-the-cob is a parrot favourite.  Sprouted seed or soaked seed if available.  Soaked mung beans can be offered.  Seeding grasses will be eagerly devoured.

Fruits and vegetables can make up more than 50% of the birds daily food intake. Seasonally available fruits and vegetables as well as thawed frozen vegetables should be offered to the birds each day. Vegetables to include green leafy vegetables such as silverbeet, spinach or endive. Good quality dry dog food can be offered.  Wholemeal or multigrain bread can be offered.

Commercial parrot pellets can form part of a balanced diet.

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: September/October to January
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  900 - 1200 mm (or approx. 36 - 48 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 300 - 400 mm. (or approx. 12 -16 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 250 - 350mm square (or approx. 10 - 14 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 100 mm (or approx. 4 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 - 150mm (or approx 4 - 6 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and 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.

In the wild the King Parrot will generally choose vertical or near vertical hollows in which to nest, often in an eucalypt tree.

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 100mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

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 4 - 6.  Incubation approx. 20 days.  Fledge approx. 5 weeks. Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks.

If the parent birds are not going to lay another clutch, the young are often left with the parent birds, however if any aggression is shown to the young, the young must immediately be removed.

As with many other parrots, if space allows, the young birds can be housed beside a breeding pair.  The successful adult breeding pair will educate the young birds on the social and breeding skills they will need to learn to be a compatible pair and successful parents.

The hen King parrot is the important factor in the compatibility of a pair.  The hen chooses her partner so if she does not find the cock bird to her liking, there is little chance of a successful breeding.

If sufficient young birds are available, young birds that can choose their own mate usually become more compatible adults and better breeders than those that have their partner chosen for them.

Birds that are destined for the pet or companion bird trade are often removed from the nest at about 3 weeks of age and hand raised.

It is common practise to place a closed metal ring on the young bird while it is in the nest.

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. 6 Jun 2004 Page 130-132 (Inc photo).

  • A/A Vol 57 No.12 Dec 2003 Page 270-272 (Inc photo).
  • A/A Vol 55 No. 2 Feb 2001 Page 25-28 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 4 Apr 1999 Page 79-80
  • A/A Vol 50 No. 10 Oct 1996 Page 221-223
  • A/A Vol 47 No. 8 Aug 1993 Page 196-199
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 1 Jan 1992 Page 7-15
  • A/A Vol 44 No. 8 Aug 1990 Page 202-205 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 35 No. 5 May 1981 Page 113-115
  • A/A Vol 33 No. 2 Feb 1979 Page 31-34
  • A/A Vol 32 No. 3 Mar 1978 Page 41-44 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 26 No. 12 Dec 1972 Page 202-205 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 19 No 11 Nov 1965 Page 145-146 (Western Australian King Parrot).
  • A/A Vol 19 No 5 May 1965 Page 65 - 66.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 10 Oct 1951 Page 116.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 8 Aug 1949 Page 83.
  • A/A Vol  2 No 10 Oct 1948 Page 78.
  • A/A Vol  2 No 7 Jul 1948 Page 59.
  • The Bulletin No 17, Mar 1944 Page 5 - 6.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 2005 Page 418-423.
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 8. Apr-May 2001 Page 443
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1999 Page 331-332
  • ABK Vol 11 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1998 Page 245-246
  • ABK Vol  6 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 1994 Page 579-582
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1989 Page 439-442
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1989 Page 223-226

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