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

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. mulga parrot
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  • An Australian Parrot
  • Scientific Name: Psephotus varius
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: None
  • Origin / Distribution: Southern half of Australia
  • Habitat In Wild: Drier inland areas
  • Status In Wild: Common.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Secure, but not common
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: About 12 - 14 months
  • Adult plumage: attained at about  4 - 6 months
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx. 12 or more years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic (Young can be sexed accurately while still in the nest)
  • Mutations: Yes
  • Availability: Bird dealers
  • Temperament: Best kept as one pair per aviary due to its aggressive nature.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $90
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 280 mm (or approx. 11 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 60 - 70 gms (or approx. 2 - 2.5 ozs)
Mulga parrots are members of the PSEPHOTUS genus along with Red rumped parrot, Hooded parrot, Golden shouldered parrot and the extinct Paradise parrot.

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 it can be aggressive.  Care should be taken if pairs are housed in flights side by side.  Double wiring between flights must be considered.

Minimum aviary size should be about 2 metres long, 900 mm wide and 2.1 metres high. (6ft X 9ft X 7ft).  An aviary 3 metres (10 feet) long is ideal.

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 natural foods of the Mulga parrot are seeds from grasses and herbaceous plants. Seasonally available fruits, blossoms, fruit and flower buds, and various plant and vegetable matter balance the nutritional intake.  Insects and insect larvae may form part of their food intake.

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.  Some parrots housed with finches, softbills or other insect eating birds will often copy the other tenants and eat insects.

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: July to November/December
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  300 - 500 mm (or approx. 12 - 18 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 150 - 180 mm. (or approx. 6 - 7 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 150- 180mm  x  150 - 180 mm square (or approx. 6 - 7 x 6 - 7 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx  55 - 65 mm (or approx  2.2 - 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.
  • 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 of about 55 - 65 mm diameter and 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.

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 4 - 6.  Incubation approx. 19 days.  Fledge approx. 4 - 5 weeks.  Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks.

May start breeding at about 15 - 18 months of age.

If the parent birds only have one clutch, the young can generally remain with the parent birds till the start of the next breeding season.

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 33 No. 11 Nov 1979 Page 190-193
  • A/A Vol 22 No 5 May 1968 Page 76-80 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol 21 No. 8 Aug 1967 Page114.
  • A/A Vol  8 No 8 Aug 1954 Page 92-94 (Psephotus family).
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 6. Dec-Jan 2001 Page 308-310.
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 1998 Page 581-582
  • ABK Vol  7 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1994 Page 166-169
  • ABK Vol  4  Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1991 Page 456-459

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