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

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. rock parrot
Photos courtesy of:
Remington Insurance Brokers P/L
Ballarat East, Victoria.
Remington Insurance Brokers P/L specialise in
Aviary bird insurance
Ph (03) 5331 7341
    photo of Rock parrot
  • An Australian Parrot                        (Click on photo to enlarge)
  • Scientific Name:  Neophema petrophila
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  Some recognise 2 sub-species but others do not differentiate the two endemic populations.
  • Origin / Distribution:  Southern and south-western Australia
  • Habitat In Wild:  Coastline and offshore islands.
  • Status In Wild:  ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Numbers are low.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  8 - 12 months
  • Adult plumage: attained at about  4 - 6 months
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 2nd year onwards
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 10 or more years
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic.  Surgical sexing may be required.
  • Mutations:  1
  • Availability:  Bird dealers and specialist breeders.  Not a popular bird in captivity.
  • Temperament:  Not an active bird in the aviary.  The lack of activity and its lack of bright colours may be the reason for its lack of popularity as an aviary bird.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $200 - $250
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 220 mm (or approx. 8.75 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo above.
  3. Weight: Approx. 50 - 55 gms (or approx. 2 ozs)
The Rock parrot is a member of the genus Neophema, which include the Blue winged parrot, Elegant parrot, Scarlet-chested parrot, Turquoise parrot and the Orange bellied parrot.  These are commonly called "Grass parrots".  The Bourke's parrot has recently been removed from the Neophema genus and placed in a genus of their own.

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.

Suitable bird for those with smaller aviaries and are generally not destructive to the timber of aviary frames.  They will chew on plants within the aviary.  The Blue winged parrot is generally non-aggressive and can be housed with other non-aggressive parrot species, finches and some of the dove species.

They can be housed in a large aviary as a colony, but it is also housed and bred successfully in a small aviary as a single pair.  They are more social birds than the other Neophemas and like to be housed as a colony of about 3 pairs.  Good results are usually achieved as one pair per aviary.

In an aviary, the young birds just after they leave the nest are often "clumsy" fliers and may crash into the front wire wall. The placement of hessian on the outer side of the wire wall or leafy branches close to the wire inside the cage should minimize the risk of injury of a young bird. The young bird should see the hessian or leafy branches and not fly into the end of the aviary.

The Neophema parrot is easy to house and will accept and breed in a cage of about 1200mm long , 600mm high and 600mm wide (4 x 2 x 2 feet through to a standard parrot aviary.
An aviary of at least 2 metres (7 feet) long is preferred.  An aviary of about 3 metres long (10 feet) is ideal.  Aviary should be about 900 mm wide (3 feet) and 2100 mm high (7 feet).
Birds housed in a cage or suspended cage during the breeding season should be allowed access to an aviary during the non-breeding season for adequate exercise and to regain a good level of fitness.

Because they will hybridize with other the Neophemas, they must not be housed with any of the other Neophema species. May be housed with the Bourke's parrot.

Birds bred to produce specific colour mutations need to be housed as one pair per aviary.

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.

In the wild the natural foods of the Rock 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 may form part of their food intake.

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.  Neophemas 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 December
  • 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 - 200 mm square (or approx  6 - 8 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.
  • 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.

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 - 5.  Incubation approx. 18 days.  Fledge approx. 3 - 4 weeks.  Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.

First official authenticated breeding of the Rock Parrot in South Australia was in 1935/36.

In the wild, the Rock parrots will nest in rock crevices.  In captivity they will nest in a nest box or log.

The young rock parrots may return to the nest after they fledge.

The Neophemas may breed before the age of 12 months, but it is preferable to let the birds fully mature prior to commencing breeding.  Hens that start at or after 12 months of age are usually better mothers and more reliable.  The hens usually have a longer breeding life if they are 12 or more months of age prior to starting to breed.  Cock birds are often prevented from mating till they are about 18 months of age.  This usually allows cock birds to fully sexually and physically mature and usually prevents the first clutches of eggs being "clear".  The slightly older cock birds are usually more reliable and better parents.
As with many other species of birds, the productivity of colour mutation birds, is much less than the "normal" colour birds.  The productivity is typically about half that of normal colour birds.
The young can have a numbered closed metal leg ring placed on their leg to identify them throughout their life.  This will be essential to identify birds that have colour mutations or "split" for a colour mutation.  A closed ring should allow the purchaser to obtain the breeding pedigree of that specific bird.  Closed metal leg rings can help improve the fertility of a specific line of birds by breeding from the most prolific or most reliable birds.

The Rock parrot and the Blue winged parrot are harder to breed than the other Neophemas.

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 52 No. 10 Oct 1998 Page 220-224
  • A/A Vol 50 No. 12 Dec 1996 Page 278-282 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 39 No. 4 Apr 1985 Page 80-85 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 35 No. 11 Nov 1981 Page 246-249
  • A/A Vol 26 No. 12 Dec 1972 Page 197-198
  • A/A Vol 12 No 12 Dec 1958 Page 153-161.
  • A/A Vol  6 No 4 Apr 1952 Page 46.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 3 Mar 1950 Page 35-36.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 10 Oct 1949 Page 112.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 4 Apr 1949 Page 32-34.
  • A/A Vol  2 No 5 May 1948 Page 42-43.
  • The Bulletin No 15, Dec 1943 Page 7 - 8.
  • Australian Birdkeeper

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