Category Archives: Parrot

King Parrot on neighbour’s tree

A high-pitched whistle drew me to the window early on Friday morning. A King Parrot perched on a nearby tree to take stock of the neighbourhood.

Here’s a zoomed-in view of the same photo:

Common name: Australian King Parrot

Scientific name: Alisterus scapularis

Approximate length: 44 cm

Date spotted: 6 July 2018 (Winter)

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia


Sharing a treetop shower with King Parrots

This was one of those magical moments that happen when you walk in the Aussie bush. I was strolling along under the canopy of tall gum trees…

… when I heard a swooshing and clattering of wings. I looked up, just in time to receive a spattering of large droplets on my face.

Oops, I thought, some bird had a little accident.

But then it happened again. And I saw this face looking down from high in a leafy cluster:

Looking around, I saw four or five other birds – all Australian King Parrots.

(The birds were very high up indeed. My camera’s zoom has done a good job, though some of the images are a little fuzzy.)

They were swooping through the wet clusters of leaves at the top of the trees, then coming to rest for a good grooming session.

And I was lucky enough to share the resulting shower of droplets!

Here’s a female King Parrot. It’s interesting how short her tail is in comparison with the male birds. It’s perhaps a trick of perspective:

Common name: Australian King Parrot

Scientific name: Alisterus scapularis

Approximate length: 44 cm

Date spotted: 1 April 2018 (Autumn)

Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’51.3″S 151°14’52.3″E

Glossy Black-Cockatoo spotted near Sydney

Quite exciting! According to my bird book, this bird is reasonably uncommon, perhaps declining. It’s a Glossy Black-Cockatoo, and I saw three of them for the first time ever this morning.

The raised crest gives the bird a typical look of parrot curiosity:

In this photo, the bird did a bit of grooming and showed the orange-red flares in its tail feathers:

In our area we see a lot of the white sulphur-crested cockatoos. Occasionally the yellow-tailed black cockatoos pay us a visit, when their favourite trees are in flower. I’ve never before seen any of these glossy black cockatoos.

From underneath, the tail feathers look entirely yellow, white, and black:

In the photo below, you can see more of the orange in the tail, and the small crest on the bird’s head:

From the rear, the orange is more visible:

Another frontal view:

Common name: Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Scientific name: Calyptorhynchus lathami

Approximate length: 50cm

Date spotted: 25 February 2018 (Summer)

Location: Manly Dam National Reserve, near Sydney: 33°46’36.5″S 151°15’18.2″E

Black cockatoos in love

These two Black Cockatoos seem very much in love. They’re carefully grooming each other’s heads. Other birds in the tree are making the crooning noise that I’ve heard before around this time of year. I suspect it has a lot to do with spring and the mating season.

You’d need to trust someone, to let them near your head with a beak this size!

Common name: Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Scientific name: Calyptorhynchus funereus

Approximate length: 65 cm

Date spotted: 3 September 2017 (Spring)

Location: Manly Dam National Park, NSW, Australia: 33°46’46.5″S 151°15’00.4″E

King Parrots on the pavement

A pair of King Parrots surprised me today. They were quietly feeding on a grassy pavement as I walked by. At first they took a careful look at me, then they decided I was harmless and went back to their browsing. The photos aren’t great quality, because I had only the camera on my mobile phone with me.

The male of the pair has a red head and chest, and dark green on his back. The female bird has a green head and softer red colouring on her chest.  The video shows them feeding quietly then flying off with a characteristic chirp.

It wasn’t me that scared them away, but rather a big bird flying overhead. The big scary bird turned out to be just a currawong, so the parrots came back quite quickly. Here they are together:

Here’s the male, showing the pretty colouring and markings on his back:

Common name: Australian King Parrot

Scientific name: Alisterus scapularis

Approximate length: 44 cm

Date spotted: 7 July 2017 (Winter)

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’13.2″S 151°15’41.1″E

Rainbow Lorikeets and a flowering grass tree

A grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) perches precariously on the edge of a cliff in our garden. Every couple of years, the grass tree throws up a flower spike—much to the delight of the Rainbow Lorikeets in the area. Here’s a closeup of a couple of the birds on the flower spike:

Here’s the grass tree on the cliff, with the flower spike shooting up. The grass tree is the one with long, thin, spiky leaves at the base of the flowering spike, not the fleshy big-leafed succulents that surround it:

You can only fit so many lorikeets on a flower spike at once. So, the trick is to line up on the nearest power line and take turns. This video shows the interaction between the birds as they wait in line:

Evidently the nectar from the flowers on the spike is deliciously sweet. Australian Aboriginal people use it to make a sweet drink. Europeans used to burn it as incense in churches. The birds feel it’s worth waiting in line:

It turns out you can fit quite a few lorikeets on a flower spike:

Common name: Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific name: Trichoglossus haematodus

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 7 July 2017 (Winter)

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Musk Lorikeets feeding and chatting

A tree outside our house is in flower, and attracting many avian visitors. This is the first time I’ve seen a Musk Lorikeet. They’re pretty little birds, very fast moving and well camouflaged amongst the green leaves. They chatter to each other constantly, often making a pleasant trilling sound. For some reason, that sound makes me of a phone ringing in a sunlit roof-top apartment.

You can also hear water running down the hill, as it’s been raining a lot recently.

Common name: Musk Lorikeet

Scientific name: Glossopsitta concinna

Approximate length: 23 cm

Date spotted: 27-28 February 2017 (Summer)

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

In this second video, an Australian Miner joins the lorikeet in the floral feast. The miners and lorikeets usually have a bit of a squawking match over feeding territory, but they managed to co-exist on the same branch for a short period.

The loud chirping you can hear is a Rainbow Lorikeet flying by. (There’s a picture of one further down in this post.)

Musk Lorikeets are mainly green, with a red mask around the eyes, a blue cap, and a yellow stripe along the wing:

Musk Lorikeet

They never seem to stop moving! This one stood still for a short time, but you can see it’s thinking of launching itself into the air any time:

Musk Lorikeet

Other visitors to the tree include Rainbow Lorikeets like this one:

rainbow lorikeet

They’re much more common around here than the Musk Lorikeets. Also Currawongs:


Crimson Rosella feeding on bottlebrush seeds

Usually when you spot a Crimson Rosella, there’s another one close by. This time, though, I could only see one. It was contentedly nibbling at the seeds on a bush – a bottlebrush, I think. [Update on 24 April: It’s not a bottlebrush, but Scrub She-oak, Allocasuarina distyla. Thanks to Carol Probets for the comment!]

The male and female Crimson Rosella look very similar, with the male being larger. I don’t know whether this one was male or female.

Crimson Rosella

These birds are so pretty, even though this one was moulting, so a little shabby in places.

Crimson Rosella

From the rear, the feathers are quite intricate in pattern:

Crimson Rosella

Common name: Crimson Rosella

Scientific name: Platycercus elegans elegans

Approximate length: 35 cm

Date spotted: 12 February 2017 (Summer)

Location: Manly Dam Reserve, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’58.4″S 151°15’11.8″E

King Parrots on my commute

Not many people in the world are lucky enough to be able to say this: I bumped into a couple of King Parrots on my way home from work the other day.

We see a few different varieties of parrots around the neighbourhood. King Parrots aren’t a very common sight – I see them maybe two or three times a year. One of their charming characteristics is that they’re always in pairs. See one, and the other isn’t far away.

These two were investigating some seeds on the ground. They let me get quite close, and flew off when I was about a metre away.

Common name: Australian King Parrot

Scientific name: Alisterus scapularis

Approximate length: 44 cm

Date spotted: 5 October 2016

Season: Spring

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Approximate latitude/longitude: 33°46’13.2″S 151°15’41.1″E

Crimson Rosella in the wet

A Crimson Rosella hangs out on a wire in a Sydney rain storm.

Crimson Rosella in the wet

(Click the image to zoom in.)

The Rosella looks a little miffed. The rain’s been going on a while, and I guess the bird’s had enough of it.

Crimson Rosella in the wet

Common name: Crimson Rosella

Scientific name: Platycercus elegans elegans

Approximate length: 35 cm

Date spotted: 26 September 2015

Season: Spring

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’13.9″S 151°15’39.2″E