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Scarlet-chested Parrot

Neophema splendida

The Scarlet-chested Parrot, Neophema splendida, is a small and vibrantly colored bird, with the male showcasing a striking scarlet chest, cobalt blue face, and bright green upperparts. The lower breast and underparts are a vivid yellow, and the wing coverts are a pale blue. The female is similar but with a less extensive blue face and lacks the red chest, presenting green upperparts and breast with yellow underparts.

Identification Tips

Males begin to develop red plumage on their chest from around two or three months of age, reaching full coloration at fifteen to eighteen months. The female can be distinguished from the similar female Turquoise Parrot by her blue lores and paler blue wing patch. The species measures 19–21 cm in length, with brown eyes, a blackish bill, and brown-grey legs.

Habitat

The Scarlet-chested Parrot inhabits dry Eucalyptus and Acacia scrubland and grassland, including areas with Atriplex and Triodia vegetation.

Distribution

This nomadic species is found across the drier southern regions of Australia, from Western Australia east across South Australia and into the southern Northern Territory and far western New South Wales.

Behaviour

These parakeets are nomadic, moving in response to the availability of food and water. They are known to be secretive and can be easily overlooked despite their bright plumage.

Song & Calls

The call of the Scarlet-chested Parrot is a soft twittering, quieter than other members of the Neophema genus.

Breeding

Breeding occurs from August to October or after rainfall. They nest in hollows of small trees, often mulga or eucalypt, laying clutches of four to six round white eggs.

Similar Species

The male Scarlet-chested Parrot is unique in its coloration, while the female resembles the female Turquoise Parrot but can be differentiated by the blue lores and paler blue wing patch.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet consists mainly of grass seeds, and they are known to consume succulent plants such as Calandrinia to meet their fluid requirements.

Conservation status

The IUCN lists the Scarlet-chested Parrot as Least Concern, though it is classified as vulnerable in New South Wales due to threats such as habitat loss and potential trapping for the pet trade.

Aviculture

The Scarlet-chested Parrot is popular in captivity, with many color mutations available. They require careful husbandry to prevent Candida infections, which can be managed by a natural diet that includes antifungal foods like garlic, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.

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