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

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. Derbyan parrot
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  • An Asiatic parrot
  • Scientific Name:  Psittacula derbyana / derbiana
  • Common Name/s:  DERBYAN PARROT.
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  No
  • Origin / Distribution:  Tibet and China
  • Habitat In Wild:  Mountainous regions of oak, conifer and pine forests. Will forage in cultivated farmlands such as cereal or corn fields or fruit plantations.
  • Status In Wild:  Classified as near threatened. Declining due to habitat loss and trapping for the bird trade.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure, but not common.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  about 3 years.
  • Adult plumage: attained by about 18 - 24 months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  3 years onward.  May breed for up to 15 years.
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx 20 or more years 
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Colour mutations:  ?
  • Availability:  Specialist breeders and some bird dealers.
  • Temperament:  Derbyan parrots are generally described as non-aggressive birds however some can be aggressive.  Best housed one pair per aviary.  They are a large bird and like to chew timber and wood perches.  Generally breed well in southern cooler states and are good parents.  Apart from during the moult, they maintain good feather condition and present well.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $2000
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 500 mm (or approx. 20 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 320 gms (or approx. 11 ozs)
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 Non Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Best housed as one pair per aviary.

They come from a cool climate.  Recommended aviary length is up to 6 metres (20 feet).  They will destroy timbers and therefore a strong metal framed aviary is essential.

The Derbyan parrot will need an aviary of at least  4 - 5 metres long.  Width of 1200mm ( 4 feet) is recommended. An aviary of 6 metres long will give these birds the opportunity to do a lot of flying and maintain good health and fitness.  They have strong beaks so a strong wire mesh is essential.  12 gauge is recommended but 14 gauge may be sufficient.

Non-toxic leafy branches 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 can be used for perches. These natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds will chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.

Diet / Feeding: Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for general details on the feeding of Non Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Natural diet includes seeds, fruits, berries, nuts and some flower and leaf buds.  May obtain some nectar or pollen from flowers.  Will obtain some food items from orchards and other cultivated areas.

An aviary diet include a good quality small parrot seed mix with added sunflower seed.  Fruits including apple, orange, pear and grapes; vegetables including green leafy vegetables, corn on the cob, peas and carrot.  Greens such as chickweed, dandelion leaves and young green seeding dock "weed" plants can be offered. Seeding grasses, hawthorn berries and other berries (the ones people eat) are some favourites.

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.

  • Nesting months:  Starts October - November
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth 600 - 800 mm (or approx. 24 - 32 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 300 mm. (or approx. 12 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx.275 - 300 mm square (or approx. 11 - 12 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 90 - 100 mm (or approx. 3.5 - 4 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100- 150 mm (or approx 4 - 6 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 = usually vertical or 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.

Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100 - 150mm (about 4 -6 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year usually 1, occasionally 2.  Eggs per nest 2 - 4 (usually 3).  Incubation approx. 24 - 28 days.  Fledge approx. 7 - 8 weeks.  Independent approx. another 5 - 6 weeks.

As with many parrots that are strong flyers, the inexperienced young can fly into the wire mesh at the open end of the aviary and this can cause injury or in the worst case, death of a bird.  Placing leafy branches at the end of the aviary will minimize this problem.

The young are often left with the parent birds for a month or more and this will generally not cause any problems as the Derbyan parrot usually only has a single clutch per year.  The young birds will probably keep learning from the parent birds and benefit from the knowledge they learn.  If aggression is observed the effected bird or birds should be immediately removed to another aviary.

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  33  No. 9  Sept 1979  Page 156-159 (Inc photos)
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 7.  Feb-Mar  2001  Page 399-402  (R. Low).  *
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 8.  Apr-May  1999  Page 371-374

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