Rock Parrot

Did you know?

The Rock Parrot has the dubious honour of having the least colourful plumage of any Australian parrot. Greys and browns, dull yellow and green predominate but when seen in the field, it appears deceptively bright, due mainly to its mostly yellow tail and undertail-coverts.

Calls
A plaintive but piercing two note call 'tsit-tseet', repeated frequently in flight; soft chattering when feeding.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
22cm
Maximum Size: 
24cm
Average size: 
23cm
Average weight: 
55g
Breeding season: 
August to December
Clutch Size: 
4 to 5
Incubation: 
18 days
Nestling Period: 
30 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
SA: 
WA: 
Associated Plants
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
308
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Rock Parrot is a stocky, plump grass-parrot endemic to southern Australia. It has a dull brownish olive-green body shading to a yellow abdomen with a diagnostic blue forehead and face. The shoulders are narrowly edged in light and dark blue and it has a slender tail that is pale blue above and yellowish below. The Rock Parrot is tame, quiet and unobstrusive in its general behaviour. It rarely forms large flocks and is usually seen in small groups. The Rock Parrot is almost exclusively terrestrial but commonly perches in dense shrubbery and occasionally shelters under rocks.

Similar species: 

The Rock Parrot is similar to its relatives, the Blue-winged ParrotN. chrysostoma, and the Orange-bellied ParrotN. chrysogaster, of coastal south-western Australia and the Elegant Parrot, N. elegans, of coastal South Australia. The Rock Parrot is much duller with light blue lores, rather than yellow, and lacks the graceful appearance of the others. Its habitat is unique and it is rarely found far from the coast.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Rock Parrot lives on the rocky coastline of south and west Australia. There are two major populations, in the east along the coast from Kingston to Ceduna in South Australia and in Western Australia from Cape Arid National Park to Geraldton.

Habitat: 

The Rock Parrot is restricted to coastlines and offshore rocky islands, frequenting windswept coastal dunes, mangroves, saline swamps and rocky islets. It is seldom seen more than a few hundred metres from the sea.

Seasonal movements: 

The Rock Parrot is mainly sedentary, moving about locally in pairs or small flocks during the breeding season, but birds on offshore islands tend to disperse to nearby coasts in autumn and winter.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Rock Parrot feeds on seeds and fruits of a wide variety of grasses, rushes, shrubs and salt-tolerant plants. It forages quietly, mainly in the early morning and late afternoon.

Breeding: 

The Rock Parrot breeds mostly on off-shore islands, nesting in a rock crevice, tunnel or abandoned seabird nesting burrow, or on a rocky ledge often behind a 'curtain' of succulent shrubs. The females incubates the eggs while the male feeds her by regurgitation, an act which is also ritualised in courtship.

Living with us

The Rock Parrot has declined locally due to housing and recreational developments and its breeding success has been affected by cats, foxes and rats.

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