. hooded parrot
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- An Australian Parrot
(Click on photo to enlarge)
- Scientific Name: Psephotus dissimilis
- Common Name/s:
HOODED PARROT, ANTHILL PARROT, BLACK HOODED PARROT.
- Sub Species: None
- Origin / Distribution: Northern
- Habitat In Wild: Dry open eucalypt
forest and grasslands. Areas to include active termite mounds. Nest in termite mounds, hence its name
"ant bed parrot".
- Status In Wild: Generally
accepted as becoming rare and
possibly endangered. Opinions vary widely as to the actual
number of birds in the wild.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Secure, but not as popular as in the past. Current increase in
interest may be due to the establishment of colour mutations.
The number of pure "normal" colour birds may suffer as a result of
the interest in breeding colour mutations.
- Age To Sexual Maturity:
about 12 months
- Adult plumage: attained at about
months onwards. Full adult plumage is acquired after 12
- 18 months.
- Lifespan (estimate): approx.
15 or more years
- Sexing: Monomorphic
- Mutations: Yes
- Availability: Bird dealers
- Temperament: Can be an
aggressive bird so it is best housed one pair
per aviary. Use logs or breeding boxes in captivity.
Generally a fairly quiet bird. They may bathe in the water
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx) $120
- Description Of Adults: Photo
= Cock bird on left, hen on right.
Similar in appearance to the Golden shouldered parrot.
- Length: Approx. 270 mm (or approx. 11 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo above -
top right of page. (Click on photo to enlarge).
- Weight: Approx. 50 - 60gms (or approx. 2 ozs)
Hooded parrot is a member of the PSEPHOTUS genus along with Mulga
parrot, Red rumped parrot, Golden shouldered parrot and the extinct
Paradise parrot. The Hooded, Golden shouldered and the extinct
Paradise parrot are often referred to as termite mound parrots as they
nest in termite mounds in the wild.
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 Hooded parrot is a good intermediate level bird. Good breeders but should be kept
one pair per aviary as they can be aggressive. Care should be taken
if pairs are housed in flights side by side. Double wiring between
flights must be considered. Solid wall between the pairs is ideal. An aviary of between 3 - 4 metres long
is recommended. Minimum aviary length is 2 metres (6 - 7 feet). Hoodeds generally do little or no damage to timber
fittings or to a timber aviary frame.
If one pair is housed in a suspended cage, the size should be about 2000mm long x 900mm
wide x 1000mm high (6-7 ft x 3 ft x 3.5 ft). A solid wall should separate each cage.
Must not be housed with the Golden Shouldered parrot as hybridization
Non-toxic leafy branches, such as eucalypts, 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.
The Hooded parrot does well on a fairly basic
diet. A good quality Budgie mix with some added sunflower seed
is adequate. Do not feed out too much sunflower seed as this can
contribute to overweight birds. Soaked or sprouted seed can be offered. Seeding
grasses are an important green food. Leafy green vegetables (e.g.
silverbeet, endive, spinach) are
beneficial. A variety of fruits (e.g. apple) and
vegetables (e.g. corn, carrot and peas) should form part of a balanced diet.
Green leafy vegetables such as silverbeet or endive can be offered.
The seed pods, flowers and fruiting
bodies on native trees such as eucalypts are eagerly consumed.
These items provide exercise and entertainment as well as some
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:
March to May and September to November (Same as Golden
- Log / Nest-box:
/ depth 400 - 500 mm (or approx. 16 - 20 inches)
- Log internal
diameter approx. 150 - 200 mm. (or approx. 6 - 8
- Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 150
- 200mm square (or approx. 6 - 8 inches square)
- Diameter of
hole approx. 60 mm (or approx. 2.5 inches)
- Inspection hole (square or round)
(or approx 4 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
- Angle of log or nest box = Log or nest box can be
vertical or on an angle of up to 45 degrees.
- 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
Some breeders add a wooden "tunnel" to the opening of the log or nest box to
mimic the tunnel entrance the birds dig in termite mounds. To help
stimulate the hen into breeding condition, this entry tunnel can be "plugged"
with a mixture of materials such as peat, clay, sand. The moist material
is placed in the tunnel and allowed to dry. This is only done at the start
of each breeding season not repeated if the birds double clutch. The birds
will dig through the material into their nestbox. The more often the birds
do this task, the better and quicker they become.
The nestbox has a typical parrot nest material placed in the nestbox.
In colder climates, additional heating to the nestbox may be necessary to
maximize breeding results.
Although they were originally only found in tropical Australia, they have been
bred for many generations in the cooler southern states and are fairly
"domesticated" and usually tolerate the cooler climate fairly well.
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 1 or 2. Eggs per nest 3 - 6. Incubation approx.19
- 23 days. Fledge approx.
4 - 5 weeks. Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks.
The young Hooded parrots should be removed from the
parents once they are fully independent to avoid possible aggression
from a parent bird.
Best results seem to come from birds
being "paired" as young uncoloured birds and allowing them to grow and
mature together. Re-pairing adult birds may be difficult with the
new "pair" being incompatible.
Current increase in interest may be due to the establishment of
colour mutations. Care will have to be taken to ensure pure
"normal" colour birds are maintained. None of the current colour
mutations are an improvement on the original plumage colours.
Closed leg rings can be placed on the young while they are in the nest.
Closed leg rings are essential if mutations are being bred.
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 58 No. 1 Jan 2004 Page 16-20.
- A/A Vol 57 No. 6 Jun 2003 Page 115.
- A/A Vol 52 No. 3 Mar 1998 Page 65-67
- A/A Vol 51 No. 4 Apr 1997 Page 73-77 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 46 No. 6 Jun 1992 Page 129-135
- A/A Vol 45 No. 9 Sept 1991 Page 219-224 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 42 No. 4 Apr 1988 Page 83-84
- A/A Vol 41 No. 1 Jan 1987 Page 8-18 (Inc. photo)
- A/A Vol 40 No. 10 Oct 1986 Page 250-251 (Nest boxes)
- A/A Vol 39 No. 11 Nov 1985 Page 273-277
- A/A Vol 34 No. 3 Mar 1980 Page 44-48
- A/A Vol 26 No. 5 May 1972 Page 70-75 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 20 No 6 Jun 1966 Page 77-78, 90.
- A/A Vol 15 No. 1 Jan 1961 Page 9.
- A/A Vol 10 No 12 Dec 1956 Page 140-141.
- A/A Vol 8 No 8 Aug 1954 Page 92-94 (Psephotus family).
- A/A Vol 8 No 6 Jun 1954 Page 65-66.
- A/A Vol 7 No 8 Aug 1953 Page 95-96.
- A/A Vol 4 No 8 Aug 1950 Page 100.
- A/A Vol 1 No 6 Jun 1947.
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 18 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2005 Page 531-533.
- ABK Vol 16 Issue 8 Apr-May 2003 Page 446-448
- ABK Vol 15 Issue 1 .Feb-Mar 2002 Page 30
- ABK Vol 14 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 2001 Page 380-385.
- ABK Vol 14 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 2001 Page 386-387
- ABK Vol 13 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 2000 Page 214
- ABK Vol 10 Issue 8. Apr-May 1997 Page 371-372
- ABK Vol 9 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1996 Page 187
- ABK Vol 8 Issue 8. Apr-May 1995 Page 377-378
- ABK Vol 5 Issue 3. Jun-July 1992 Page 112-116
- ABK Vol 2 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1989 Page 378-380
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