Ground Parrot

Did you know?

Ground Parrots prefer to run rather than fly away. They fly short distances and then run through the dense undergrowth.

The Ground Parrot calls at dawn and dusk. The call consists of piercing, ringing, resonating whistles, rising in steps. They also warble in sharp, rapid trills like a budgie.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
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Breeding season: 
September to December. Later nesting occurs further south.
Clutch Size: 
One to six, usually three or four.
24 days
Nestling Period: 
28 days
Conservation Status
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Plants associated with this species
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Ground Parrot is a distinctive, slender parrot which is so shy and elusive that it is not usually seen unless it is flushed out from cover. It is a bright grass-green with black and yellow markings and a prominent pale yellow wing bar. The tail is long and barred with yellow. It has a small red band on the lower forehead. The Ground Parrot is also known as the Swamp Parrot or Button-grass Parrot.

Similar species: 

The Ground Parrot is unlikely to be confused with any other parrot, but its calls can be confused with those of the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Phylidonyris melanops.

Where does it live?

The Ground Parrot is found in scattered populations along the east coast of Australia, from south-east coastal Queensland and in pockets in north-east and southern New South Wales, through to coastal areas of Gippsland in Victoria and the islands of the Bass Strait to its stronghold in Tasmania.


The Ground Parrot lives mainly in heathland, sedgeland or on button-grass plains.

Seasonal movements: 

Ground Parrots are mainly sedentary in their chosen habitats, but young birds will disperse to find their own territories. Ground Parrots may also move away from fires and fire-affected areas.

What does it do?

Ground Parrots usually feed on the ground, eating seeds of sedges, grasses, herbaceous plants and shrubs.


The Ground Parrot constructs a nest consisting of a shallow bowl of fine sticks and grass, which is well-hidden under low shrubs. The nest is screened from view, and and this screen often forms a tunnel. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young. During this time of incubation and brooding, the female is fed by the male, who also feeds the young when they hatch.

Living with us

Humans have impacted on Ground Parrots through clearing or changing their habitat and by altering the frequency of fires. This has caused both a general decline in the population, and a fragmentation of their habitats. The western subspecies of the Ground Parrot, P. wallicus flaviventrisis listed federally as endangered. The eastern subspecies, P. wallicus wallicusis listed as vulnerable in New South Wales.

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