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

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  • An Australian Parrot
  • Scientific Name:  Polytelis swainsonii
  • Sub Species:  None
  • Origin / Distribution:  Inland south-eastern Australia (Victoria & New South Wales).
  • Habitat In Wild:  Diverse, including woodlands/forests of riverine River Red gums and Black Box trees to open grasslands and saltbush plains.  Breed in forested areas.
  • Status In Wild:  Declining, probable due to the destruction of its preferred habitat.  Listed as vulnerable.  Refer to article in The Age newspaper 6 August 2005 or A/A Vol 59 No. 9 Sept 2005 Page 212 for recent Victorian habitat destruction.  
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 15 or more years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  Yes - several.  Includes Lutino, blue and cinnamon.
  • Availability:  Bird dealers
  • Temperament:  Does well in captivity. Best results are with one pair per aviary. Regarded as a docile bird.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $120 - $150
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx  400 mm (or approx  16 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 125 - 150 gms (or approx  4.5 - 5.4 ozs)
The Superb parrot is a member of the POLYTELIS genus along with the Princess parrot and Regent 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.

Best results are with one pair per aviary.

Minimum aviary size is about 3 metres (10 feet) in length and one metre (3 - 3.5 feet) wide and 2100mm (7 feet) high.  Double wiring between each aviary flight is advisable.

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 these birds often feed on the ground and consume seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants.  Fruits, vegetable matter, berries, nuts, nectar from seasonally available flowering trees and shrubs, and insects and insect pupa form most of their natural diet.  Seeds, cereals and grains from farms and farmlands will be consumed.

Aviary diet for the Superb Parrot a quality Parrot mix and a variety of fruits such as apple and orange as well as a variety of vegetables - corn, silverbeet.  Greenfoods and green leafy vegetables should be offered.  Seeding grasses if available.  Soaked or sprouted seed if available.

Dry commercial pellet feeds are becoming available and may form part of a balanced diet.

Some birds will consume insects such as mealworms, especially around breeding season.  Insects will provide the adult birds and young with a good source of easily digestible protein.  Insects can be fed to these birds on a daily basis.

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 to December/January
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  600 mm (or approx. 24 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 160 - 200 mm. (or approx. 6.5 - 8 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 160 - 180 mm square (or approx. 7 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 70 - 80 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 = 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 =  45 degrees through to 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.

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.  Eggs per nest  4 - 6.  Incubation approx. 20 days.  Fledge approx 5 weeks.  Independent approx. another 3 weeks.

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 59 No. 10 Oct 2005 Page 222-226 (Inc photo of Lutino).
  • A/A Vol 59 No. 9 Sept 2005 Page 212.
  • A/A Vol 51 No. 1 Jan 1997 Page 1-4 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 49 No. 4 Apr 1995 Page 83-89
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 2 Feb 1994 Page 42
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 1 Jan 1992 Page 7-15
  • A/A Vol 45 No. 6 Jun 1991 Page 145-149
  • A/A Vol 22 No 8 Aug 1968 Page 116-120 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol 16 No 6 Jun 1962 Page 78, 90-91 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol  1  No 3 Mar 1947 Page.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 15 Issue 3. Jun-Jul 2002 Page 155-156.
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 2001 Page 590
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 2. Apr-May 1996 Page 60
  • ABK Vol  8 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1995 Page 541
  • ABK Vol  3 Issue 6. Dec-Jan 1991 Page 257-262

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