. scarlet chested parrot
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- An Australian Parrot
- Scientific Name: Neophema
- Common Name/s:
SCARLET CHESTED PARROT, SCARLET NEOPHEMA, SPLENDID
PARROT, SCARLET BREASTED PARROT.
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
- Origin / Distribution: Southern
inland Australia including parts of Western Australia, South
Australia, Victoria, New south Wales and Queensland.
- Habitat In Wild: Well adapted to
the drier arid areas. They are nomadic birds.
- Status In Wild: Secure, but numbers
can vary significantly depending on seasonal environmental
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Common, but pure "normal" colour are becoming harder to find.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: about 8 -
- Adult plumage: attained after the
first moult at about 4 - 6
months. The second moult results in a more intense feather colour at
about 18 months.
- Best breeding years (estimate):
2nd year onwards
- Lifespan (estimate): approx. 10 or
- Sexing: Monomorphic
- Mutations: Many
- Availability: Common. Pet shops &
bird dealers. Pure "normal" coloured birds are becoming harder to
acquire. Pure normal colour birds very attractive birds.
- Temperament: Good beginners bird.
Generally prolific breeders with multiple clutches per year. Quiet
birds that can be kept in a mixed collection, however they will
hybridize with other Neophemas. Safe to keep with the Bourke's parrots.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx) $60
- Description Of Adults: Smallest of
the Neophemas. One of the most attractive of all the
- Length: Approx. 200 mm (or approx. 8 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo/s above if available.
- Weight: Approx 40 gms (or approx 1.5 ozs)
The Scarlet-chested parrot is a member of the genus Neophema, which
include the Blue winged parrot, Elegant parrot, Rock 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
Level Of Knowledge
/ 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.
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
Scarlet chested parrot is generally non-aggressive and can be housed
with other non-aggressive parrot species, finches and some of the dove
They 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 they will hybridize with other
the 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 per aviary.
Scarlet-chested parrots spend a lot of time on the floor so
additional care should be given to maintaining a dry, clean floor.
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.
In the wild the natural foods of the
Scarlet chested 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 natural food intake.
In the aviary these birds 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 or longer if conditions are suitable.
- 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 55 - 65 mm (or approx
2.2 - 2.5 inches)
- 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. The hen may
carry small pieces of grasses or leaves into the nest to use as
- 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 or 3. Eggs per nest 3 - 6. Incubation approx.
18 days. Fledge approx 4 weeks. Independent approx.
another 3 - 4 weeks.
Good beginners bird. Generally prolific breeders with multiple
clutches per year. Usually very good parents. The young
fully independent birds are usually removed from the parents aviary so
the adults can start another clutch. The adult cock bird may
become aggressive to the young birds.
The wild birds inhabit sparsely
populated areas of Australia's interior and as a result there is little
published about the breeding and feeding habits of the wild birds.
The first records of birds being bred in
captivity are around the 1930's. These were bred from wild caught
birds. The scarlet chested parrot has made spectacular progress
and is now a common bird in aviculture. Many mutations are now
available but care must be taken to ensure beautiful pure "normal"
colour breeding birds are maintained. The pure normal colour is
still the best, most colourful bird.
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 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
"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 56 No. 10 Oct 2002 Page 209-210
- A/A Vol 52 No. 10 Oct 1998 Page 220-224
- A/A Vol 50 No. 9 Sept 1996 Page 202
- A/A Vol 50 No. 8 Aug 1996 Page 177-182
- A/A Vol 48 No. 3 Mar 1994 Page 64-70 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 41 No. 12 Dec 1987 Page 316-318
- A/A Vol 41 No. 4 Apr 1987 Page 88-90
(Inc photo - Par blue)
- A/A Vol 40 No. 12 Dec 1986 Page 306-308
- A/A Vol 40 No. 7 Jul 1986 Page 157-158
- A/A Vol 40 No. 7 Jul 1986 Page 175-176
- A/A Vol 40 No. 3 Mar 1986 Page 53-54
- A/A Vol 39 No. 3 Mar 1985 Page 54-55
- A/A Vol 38 No. 5
May 1984 Page 103-107
- A/A Vol 32 No. 12 Dec 1978 Page 188-190
- A/A Vol 32 No. 2 Feb 1978 Page 28-29
- A/A Vol 30 No. 4 Apr 1976 Page
- A/A Vol 28 No. 8 Aug 1974 Page
- A/A Vol 22 No 12 Dec 1968 Page 182-187 (Inc photo).
- A/A Vol 21 No. 10 Oct 1967 Page132-133.
- A/A Vol 21 No 5 May 1967 Page 72-74.
- A/A Vol 20 No 8 Aug 1966 Page 113-116 (Inc colour plates).
- A/A Vol 18 No 4 Apr 1964 Page 60-64.
- A/A Vol 14 No 6 Jun 1960 Page 86-87.
- A/A Vol 14 No 1 Jan 1960 Page 1-3, 15 (Inc colour plate).
- A/A Vol 12 No 12 Dec 1958 Page 153-161.
- A/A Vol 12 No 11 Nov 1958 Page 145-147.
- A/A Vol 10 No 9 Sept 1956 Page 104-106.
- A/A Vol 9 No 12 Dec 1955 Page 140.
- A/A Vol 8 No 11 Nov 1954 Page 128-130.
- A/A Vol 6 No 5 May 1952 Page 56.
- A/A Vol 6 No 1 Jan 1952 Page 11-12.
- A/A Vol 4 No 4 Apr 1950 Page 44.
- 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 9 Sept 1948 Page 72-74.
- A/A Vol 2 No 4 Apr 1948 Page 29-30.
- A/A Vol 1 No 6 Jun 1947.
- The Bulletin No 10, July 1943 Page 6 - 7.
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 14 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 2001 Page 369-370.
- ABK Vol 12 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1999 Page 550-553
- ABK Vol 3 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1990 Page 202-206
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