Full Description, History, and Care of the Australian King Parrot

King Parrot.

The Australian king parrot is a common sight in Australia, but it is a rather uncommon pet in the United States and other areas of the world. If hand-reared, they make reasonably peaceful and quiet pets. Their eye-catching hues make them great for bird enthusiasts searching for something different. These parrots are neither cuddlers or petting aficionados, but they may learn to utter a few words with regular instruction.

Species Overview

Common Names: Australian king parrot, green-winged king parrot, eastern king parrot, Queensland king parrot, king lorie, and scarlet parrot

Scientific Name: Alisterus scapularis with two recognized subspecies: Alisterus scaplaris minor and A.scapcularis scapularis

Adult Size: 16 and 18 inches in length

Life Expectancy: 25 to 30 years with proper care

Origin and History

The Australian king parrot is a common sight in parks, farmlands, and suburbs throughout eastern Australia and New Guinea. Martin Lichtenstein, a German naturalist, was the first to describe the species in 1818. There are three species of Alisterus, all of which are known as king parrots. The Papuan king parrot and the Moluccan king parrot are among the other species.


Most Australian king parrots dislike being handled and are not excessively loving. While there are exceptions, king parrots, especially those who were hand-fed as babies, seldom form close bonds with their owners in the same way that and other parrot species do.

These birds aren't always antisocial. Many Australian king parrots, on the other hand, like conversing with their owners and have even learned to pronounce a few phrases. If you want a cuddly parrot, though, this is not the right species for you.

Speech and Vocalizations

Although they are giant parrots, Australian king parrots are believed to be among the quieter parrot species, and they do not scream as loudly as other large hookbills like macaws.

Instead, they like to whistle and babble at a low but pleasant volume, and will delight their owners with their whistles and conversation. Australian king parrots may learn to converse when properly socialized and motivated, although they aren't noted for having exceptional communication skills.

Australian King Parrot Colors and Markings

Australian king parrots are a dimorphic bird species, which means the sexes look drastically different. Males have brilliant red heads and chests, vibrant green backs and tails, and blue feathers beneath their wings. They are the only parrots in the world with a completely red head.

Females of the species have green feathers on their heads, backs, and chests, red on their bellies, and a patch of blue on their rumps. Both sexes have dark gray skin on their feet and legs.


Caring for an Australian King Parrot

Although most Australian king parrots prefer little to no handling, they may be hand-tamed by patient owners and are among the gentlest giant parrots on the planet. Do not be deceived into believing that an Australian king parrot would never bite if provoked. However, these birds prefer to connect with their human caregivers in a more calm manner.

The acrobatic Australian king parrot requires a huge cage or aviary. An enclosure that is 3 to 6 feet broad and 12 to 15 feet long is perfect. This bird will need many hours of out-of-cage activity each day if housed in a tiny environment.

Common Health Problems

Bacillus is a bacterial illness that is virtually always deadly in Australian king parrots and is difficult or impossible to cure. Before introducing your bird to any other birds, be sure you quarantine it for six weeks.

Australian king parrots can become infected with intestinal worms if housed in a typical outdoor aviary with mud flooring, necessitating veterinary care. With aviaries or cages erected above the ground, intestinal worms or parasites are rarely an issue.

Diet and Nutrition

Fruits, nuts, berries, seeds, and flowers are the staple food of Australian king parrots in the wild. Proper nutrition with a well-balanced parrot is necessary for optimal health in captivity, as it is for other companion birds.

Most owners supplement their birds' diets with a high-quality commercial pellet and seed mix, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables like maize, carrots, mango, bananas, and leafy greens like spinach. Oats, millet, and quinoa are favorites of these birds. Nuts like almonds and peanuts are popular snacks despite their high fat content. Feed these delights in moderation.

The amount of food you offer a medium-to-large-sized bird depends on its size. A fully developed Australian king parrot may consume around 1/2 cup of parrot mix each day, as well as 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fruit and vegetables. You can do two feedings, one when you get up and another a few hours before bed. Every day, provide new drinking water.


Australian king parrots, being large birds, need plenty of room to exercise. These birds love to climb, swing, and chew, so a huge cage with plenty of safe toys is the optimum environment for them.

Despite the fact that they don't require as much human engagement as some other parrot species, they nevertheless require 3 to 4 hours of supervised out-of-cage playing every day. Because Australian king parrots are curious and intelligent, they can get themselves into danger if you do not take care to protect their safety. This activity should take place in a large bird-proof area of your home. Turn off ceiling fans, cover doors and windows, and remove hazardous plants and any pets to keep the place safe.

  • Gentle species, less likely to bite

  • Quieter bird

  • Acrobatic and can learn to say a few words

  • Does not like cuddling, petting, or handling

  • Requires at three to four hours of exercise, mental stimulation

Where to Adopt or Buy an Australian King Parrot

It might be difficult to locate an Australian king parrot due to its calm attitude and magnificent hues. If you want to adopt one as a pet, contact your local exotic bird club or parrot organization and inquire about local breeders.

Breeders in Australia charge $100 to $500 for Australian king parrots. Because this bird is so rare in the United States, it might cost upwards of $1,000. Australian king parrots may be found at the following rescues, adoption agencies, and breeders in the United States:

  • Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary
  • Adopt a Pet
  • Beauty of Birds

Once you've made contact with a breeder, ask as many questions as you can and attempt to schedule a visit with them and their birds. Before taking an Australian king parrot home, it's crucial to learn everything there is to know about living with one. Make sure the bird you choose to bring home is awake, active, and shows all the marks of good health, such as bright eyes, clean feathers, and full crops.

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

If the Australian king parrot strikes you as an interesting species, also consider one of these other species:

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