Australian Parrots in Cape York

Australian parrots are beautiful, noisy, smart and fun to watch.

Unlike cockatoos that are only found in Australia and south east Asia, parrots are not endemic to this part of the world - they are even more abundant and impressive in South America.

But Australia no doubt has got a good variety too. They are not only the most colourful birds in Australia, they are also smart and like to have a lot of fun

So what Australian parrots are found in Cape York?

australian king parrot

Australian King Parrot
Australian king parrot is found along the eastern coast of the country, and mostly in the south. 

But there is a different variation of it in the north, found only in the very south of Cape York, in Daintree rainforests.

red winged parrot

Red Winged Parrot
Red winged parrot is a very common parrot in Cape York, covering the entire peninsula except the very south east. 

The female is light green with red wing edges while the male is darker green on the back, with some blue, and has red wings.

fig parrot

Double Eyed Fig Parrot
Double eyed fig parrot is one of the smallest and rarest of Australian parrots and is found in three different subspecies in mainly three pockets in eastern Australia - around Brisbane, around Townsville and in Cape York. 
All have a short tail, a mostly light green body, yellow wing edges, dark blue wing tips, and patches of red and blue on the face.

Parrots Endemic to Cape York

eclectus parrots

Eclectus Parrot
Eclectus parrot is the most famous one, thanks to its sexual dimorphism (the female is red and the male is green) as well as the fact that it is endemic to the peninsula.
It is a beautiful parrot, and it lives only in a pocket of rainforest in and around Iron Range National Park.

red cheeked parrot
By jerryoldenettel via

Red Cheeked Parrot
While less famous and with smaller differences between the male and the female, red cheeked parrot lives in the same place and same habitat as eclectus parrot. It also has a very similar body shape and features, although a different colour pattern with a pale green body and a red head. Males have a blue neck.

golden shouldered parrot

Golden Shouldered Parrot
Golden shouldered parrot is only found in the southern and central parts of the peninsula, no further north than Coen. Its belly and head are pale blue and it has a black crown on the top of the head. Its wings are brownish with yellow patches on "shoulders". Unlike the two above, it prefers dry woodland habitat. 

Rosellas and Lorikeets

eastern rosella

Rosellas are a group of Australian parrots that have a pattern with black on the back and wings. They come in many different colours from crimson red to yellow, blue and green.

The one found along the eastern coast is eastern rosella, and the northern variation of it, which is found in Cape York, is called pale headed rosella.

rainbow lorikeets

Lorikeets is a group of Australian parrots that have a light green back and patches of red, blue and yellow elsewhere.
The most colourful, and the most common are rainbow lorikeets that are found throughout the peninsula.
Others found  here are little, varied and scaly breasted lorikeet.

Golden Shouldered Parrot

Golden shouldered parrot is one of the rarest Australian parrots.

It is only found in some parts of southern Cape York peninsula, and the amount of the wild individuals is only about 2000 birds.

It is a beautiful bird and thanks to how rare it is, people who are into bird watching often want to see it on their Cape York trip

It is a bird not easy to spot, unless you know exactly where to look, and if you really want to spot it without spending days looking, it is worth paying a bit to get to be taken to the right spots.

A great way of doing that is going with the owners of Artemis Station, who do morning and afternoon tours - just ring and book.

golden shouldered parrot female

What Does Golden Shouldered Parrot Look Like?

It is a small parrot, only less than 30cm long.

The female is duller, as in all birds, and has different shades of green.

The male is brighter, with a bright turquoise body, except grey wings, a black head-top, and some red under the belly.

And it is the male that has the "golden shoulder" - giving the species its common name.

golden shouldered parrot male

Habitat, Feeding and Breeding

Its other nickname is ant bed parrot - because it nests in termite mounds.

Termite mounds are therefore an important part of their habitat, and the Golden shouldered parrot consequently lives in tropical open woodlands and grasslands where termites live.

During the Wet Season, they burrow a tunnel into the mound, and build the nest in the end of the tunnel.

Golden shouldered parrot lay up to six eggs that take about three weeks before they hatch.

The other thing, apart from the termite mounds that they need in their habitat, is obviously their food, which is small grass seeds, particularly fire grass

golden shouldered parrots

If you are into birds and visiting Cape York, it is well worth dropping into Artemis, the pics on this page were taken there (of course they take you to see the wild birds, not tame).

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