. elegant parrot
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- An Australian Parrot
(Click on photo to enlarge)
- Scientific Name: Neophema elegans
- Common Name/s:
ELEGANT PARROT, ELEGANT NEOPHEMA.
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
- Origin / Distribution: Australia.
- Habitat In Wild: Prefers open
- Status In Wild: Secure.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
- Age To Sexual Maturity: 8 -
- Adult plumage: attained at about 4
- Best breeding years (estimate):
2nd year onwards
- Lifespan (estimate): approx.
10 or more
- Sexing: Monomorphic
- Mutations: Yes
- Availability: Common. Bird
and pet shops
- Temperament: Best results are one
pair per aviary but can be kept with finches and quail. Good
beginners bird and breeds well. Should not be housed with other
Neophemas as they will hybridize with other Neophemas. May be housed with the Bourke's parrot.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $60
- Description Of Adults:
- Length: Approx 220 mm (or approx 8.75 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo above -
top right of page. (Click on photo to enlarge).
- Weight: Approx. 45 - 50 gms (or approx. 1.6 - 1.75 ozs)
The Elegant parrot is a member of the genus Neophema, which include Blue
winged parrot, Rock parrot,
Scarlet-chested parrot, Turquoise parrot and the Orange bellied parrot. These are
commonly called "Grass parrots". The Bourke's
parrot has recently been removed from the Neophema genus and placed in a
genus of its own.
Level Of Knowledge
Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced /
Specialist Breeders Only.
Government Regulations & By-Laws:
Refer to " Government Laws " web page.
Refer to " Housing Birds "
web page for general details on the housing of Australian Parrots or
read on for specific details for this parrot.
The Elegant parrot is a suitable bird for those with smaller
aviaries and are generally not destructive to the timber of aviary
frames. They will chew on plants within the aviary. The
Elegant parrot is generally non-aggressive and can be housed with other
non-aggressive parrot species, finches and some of the dove species.
In an aviary, the young birds just after
they leave the nest are often "clumsy" fliers and may crash into the
front wire wall. The placement of hessian on the outer side of the wire
wall or leafy branches close to the wire inside the cage should minimize
the risk of injury of a young bird. The young bird should see the
hessian or leafy branches and not fly into the end of the aviary.
The Elegant parrot can be housed in a large aviary as a
colony, but it is also housed and bred successfully in a small aviary as
pair. Best results are usually achieved as one pair per aviary.
The Neophema parrot is easy to house and
will accept and breed in a cage of about 1200mm long , 600mm high and
600mm wide (4 x 2 x 2 feet through to a standard parrot aviary.
An aviary of at least 2 metres (7 feet) long is preferred.
An aviary of about 3 metres long (10 feet)
is ideal. Aviary should be about 900 mm wide (3 feet) and 2100 mm
high (7 feet).
Birds housed in a cage or suspended cage during the
breeding season should be allowed access to an aviary during the
non-breeding season for adequate exercise and to regain a good level of
Because the Elegant parrot will hybridize with the other
Neophemas, they must not be housed with any of the other Neophema species.
May be housed with the Bourke's parrot.
Birds bred to produce
specific colour mutations need to be housed as one pair of Elegant
parrots per aviary.
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 of various diameters, and placed at
various angles, can be used for perches. These
natural perches may be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced
regularly. The birds may chew any flowers and fruiting
bodies on the branches.
Diet / Feeding:
Refer to " Feeding Birds "
web page for general details on the feeding of Australian Parrots or
read on for specific details for this parrot.
In the wild the natural foods of the
Elegant parrot are seeds from grasses and herbaceous plants.
Seasonally available fruits, blossoms, fruit and flower buds, and
various plant and vegetable matter balance the nutritional intake.
Insects may form part of their normal food intake.
In the aviary the Elegant parrots require need a quality
"small parrot mix" or "budgie seed mix" supplemented with
plain canary seed and small amount of sunflower seed. Seeding grasses along with some
leafy green vegetables such as silverbeet, spinach or endive. A
variety of fruits e.g. apple, pear, orange and a variety of seasonally
available vegetables should be offered as part of their daily food
intake. Sprouted or soaked seed can be
Some birds will consume insects such as mealworms,
especially if they have young in the nest. The mealworm larvae,
pupa and beetle can be offered. The insects provide a good source
of easily digested protein. Neophemas housed with finches,
softbills or other insect eating birds will often copy the other tenants
and eat insects.
Commercial parrot pellets may form part
of a balanced food intake.
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.
All Australian parrots will breed in hollow logs.
- Nesting months:
August to December
- Log / Nest-box:
- Length / depth 400 - 500 mm (or approx. 16 - 18 inches)
- Log internal diameter approx. 150 - 200 mm. (or approx. 6
- 8 inches)
- Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 150- 200
x 150 - 200 mm square (or approx. 6 - 8 x 6 - 8 inches square)
- Diameter of entrance hole approx 60 - 65 mm (or approx
- Inspection hole (square or round) 100mm (or approx.
- A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for
inspections and for cleaning.
- Location & height of log / nest-box = in a sheltered part
of the aviary and at about 1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too
close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
- Angle of log or nest box = 45 degrees through to
- 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 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many
species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to
More details on
parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of
parrot nestbox/log photos
can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos"
web pages. Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos" in
the navigation bars.
Egg Colour White. Clutch/s
per year 2 - 3. Eggs per nest 4 - 5.
18 days. Fledge approx 4 - 5 weeks. Independent approx.
another 3 - 4 weeks.
The Neophemas may breed before the age
of 12 months, but it is preferable to let the birds fully mature prior
to commencing breeding. Hens that start at or after 12 months of
age are usually better mothers and more reliable. The hens usually
have a longer breeding life if they are 12 or more months of age prior
to starting to breed. Cock birds are often prevented from mating
till they are about 18 months of age. This usually allows cock
birds to fully sexually and physically mature and usually prevents the
first clutches of eggs being infertile or "clear". The slightly older cock
birds are usually more reliable and better parents.
As with many other species of birds, the productivity of colour mutation
birds, is much less than the "normal" colour birds. The
productivity is typically about half that of normal colour birds.
The young can have a numbered closed metal leg ring placed on their leg
to identify them throughout their life. This will be essential to
identify birds that have colour mutations or "split" for a colour
mutation. A closed ring should allow the purchaser to obtain the
breeding pedigree of that specific bird.
Closed metal leg rings
can help improve the fertility of a specific line of birds by breeding
from the most prolific or most reliable birds.
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.
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"
- Australian Aviculture
- A/A Vol 52 No. 10 Oct 1998 Page 220-224
- A/A Vol 52 No. 2 Feb 1998 Page 25-27 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 50 No. 8 Aug 1996 Page 177-182
- A/A Vol 38 No. 8 Aug 1984 Page 188-192 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 35 No. 9 Sept 1981 Page 188-191
- A/A Vol 12 No 12 Dec 1958 Page 153-161.
- A/A Vol 6 No 3 Mar 1952 Page 35-36.
- A/A Vol 3 No 10 Oct 1949 Page 112.
- A/A Vol 3 No 4 Apr 1949 Page 32-34.
- A/A Vol 2 No 3 Mar 1948 Page 27.
- The Bulletin No 19, May 1944 Page 7 (Cuckoo story).
- The Bulletin No 4, Nov 1942 Page 3.
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 11 Issue 2. Apr-May 1998 Page 59-60
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