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

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. Malabar parrot
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    photo of Malabar parrot malabar close up of beak colour malabar close up of beak colour
  • An Asiatic Parrot           (Click on photo to enlarge)
  • Scientific Name:  Psittacula columboides
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  ?
  • Origin / Distribution: South-east India.
  • Habitat In Wild: Tropical forests and surrounding secondary vegetation.  Will forage in cultivated areas.
  • Status In Wild:  ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Rare.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: about 12 - 15 months. Best results are obtained if the birds are allowed to mature fully and first bred at about 2 years of age.
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 15 - 18 months, at the end of the first complete moult. The plumage colour of the cock bird will continue to intensify till they attain the age of about 30 - 36 months. The full adult cock bird plumage is maintained thereafter.
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  ?
  • Lifespan (estimate): Approx. 15 or more years. They are long lived and 20 years is not unreasonable.
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic. Can be visually sexed at about 9 months of age.  Note difference in beak colour between sexes. The cock bird has a red beak where as the hen has a black beak.
  • Colour mutations:  ?
  • Availability: Specialist breeders and some bird dealers.
  • Temperament: Maintain good feather condition and present well.  Not as destructive to aviaries as other Asiatic parrots.  Quieter nature than the other Asiatic parrots.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $3500
  • Description Of Adults:   The cock bird has a red beak where as the hen has a black beak.
  1. Length: Approx. 380 mm (or approx 15 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photos above.
  3. Weight: Approx. ? gms (or approx. ? 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 Non Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

One pair per aviary.  Not suitable for a mixed species collection.  Minimum aviary size should be no less than 2 metres long.  An aviary of about 3 metres long and 1 metre wide (10 ft x 3.5 ft) is preferable.  Aviary can be up to 5 metres (16 ft) long.

Construction should be a steel frame with heavy duty wire netting.  They love to chew on timber.

The Malabar Parrot can be housed and bred in a suspended cage. Access to a conventional aviary during the non breeding season will allow these birds to regain optimal fitness prior to the next breeding season. Plenty of exercise minimizes the risk of birds becoming overweight or obese.

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 can be used for perches. These natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds will chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.

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

Natural diet includes seeds, fruits, berries, nuts and some flower and leaf buds.  May obtain some nectar or pollen from flowers.  Will obtain some food items from orchards and other cultivated areas.

Aviary diet include a good quality small parrot seed mix with added sunflower seed.  Fruits including apple, orange, pear and grapes; vegetables including green leafy vegetables, corn on the cob and berries.  Greens such as chickweed, dandelion leaves can be offered.  Soaked or sprouted seed is eagerly consumed. Some consume insects such as mealworms, especially around breeding time. Commercial Parrot pellets can form part of a well 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.

  • Nesting months: August- September onwards
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth 500 - 600 mm (or approx. 20 - 24 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 200 mm. (or approx. 8 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx.200 mm square (or approx. 8 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 75 mm (or approx. 3 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (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 = 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.  Usually vertical or near 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.

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, sometimes 2.  Eggs per nest 3 - 5.  Incubation approx. 22 - 24 days.  Fledge approx. 6- 7 weeks.  Independent approx. another 4 - 6 weeks.

Generally Malabar parrots are excellent parents. Young can usually be left with the parents for up to 6 months.
Best results are obtained if the birds are allowed to mature fully and first bred at about 2 years of age.
Unsuccessful breeders can be paired up with another partner next season with minimal problems.
Malabar parrots will usually allow nest inspections and allow the young to be leg rung.

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
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 7 Feb-Mar 2005 Page 390-395.

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