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

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. slaty headed parrot
Photos courtesy of:
Remington Insurance Brokers P/L
Ballarat East, Victoria.
Remington Insurance Brokers P/L specialise in
Aviary bird insurance
Ph (03) 5331 7341
    close up photo of slaty headed parrot photo of Slaty headed parrot
  • An Asiatic Parrot                        (Click on photo to enlarge)
  • Scientific Name: Psittacula himalayana himalayana
  • Common Name/s: SLATY HEADED PARROT.
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: 1 (The Psittacula finschi, formerly listed as a sub-species of the Slaty headed parrot, is now listed as a separate species. The common name is the "Grey headed parrot/parakeet".)
  • Origin / Distribution: Afghanistan, India across to China.
  • Habitat In Wild: Will forage in farmlands and cultivated areas.
  • Status In Wild: Declining in some areas due to habitat loss.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Secure, but not common.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: Usually more than 2 years. Usually commence breeding at about 3 years of age.
  • Adult plumage: Attained at about 18 - 24 months
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 4th year onwards. May breed for up to 15 years.
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx. 15 - 20 years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic. Can be accurately sexes at about 18 - 20 months of age.
  • Colour mutations: ?
  • Availability: Bird dealers
  • Temperament:  Usually good parents.  Best housed one pair per aviary.  Not to be housed with the Plum headed parrot or Blossom headed parrot as they may hybridize.  Apart from during the moult, they maintain good feather condition and present well.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $600
  • Description Of Adults: Bit bigger than the Plum headed parrot.  Compare above close up photo of "Slaty" with close up photo of Plum headed parrot on "Plum headed parrot" web page.
  1. Length: Approx 400 mm (or approx  16 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photos above.
  3. Weight: Approx 100 gms (or approx  3.5 ozs)

Note: The Psittacula finschi, formerly listed as a sub-species of the Slaty headed parrot, is now listed as a separate species. The common name is the "Grey headed parrot/parakeet".

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 need an aviary of about 4 - 5 metres long.  They have strong beaks so a strong wire mesh is essential.  12 gauge is recommended but 14 gauge may be sufficient.  They will destroy timbers and therefore a strong metal framed aviary is essential.

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.

A good quality small parrot seed mix with added sunflower seed is recommended.  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:
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth 450 - 600 mm (or approx. 18 - 24 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 200- 220 mm. (or approx. 8- 9 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx.200 mm square (or approx. 8 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 70 - 75 mm (or approx. 3 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (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 summer months.
    • Angle of log or nest box =  45 degrees through to vertical.  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 of about 70 - 75 mm diameter and about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

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.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year .. usually 1, occasionally 2.  Eggs per nest 4 - 5.  Incubation approx 23 - 25 days.  Fledge approx. 6 - 7 weeks.  Independent approx. another 5 weeks.

The hen is usually the dominant bird.  Generally start breeding at about 3 years of age.  New pairs should be introduced to each other several months prior to the start of the breeding season so the birds have plenty of time to establish a strong bond between each other.  A good pair bond will usually result in better breeding results.  The Slaty headed parrot will hybridize with the Plum headed Parrot.

Fledgling Slaty headed and fledgling Plum headed parrots are almost identical so only purchase young birds from a reputable breeder or reputable bird dealer.

The young are often left with the parent birds for a month or more and this will generally not cause any problems as the Slaty headed 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.

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.

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 59 No. 1 Jan 2005 Page 1-3 (Inc cover photo).
  • A/A Vol 49 No. 6 Jun 1995 Page 134-136 (Inc photo)
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 2001 Page 399-402.
  • ABK Vol 7 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1994 Page 217-219

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