Australian King-Parrot

Australian King-Parrot

Alisterus scapularis Scientific name definitions

  • LC Least Concern
  • Names (16)
  • Subspecies (2)


42–43 cm; 209–275 g. Very similar to A. amboinensis 

© James EatonMaluku, Maluku, Indonesia Macaulay Library ML 205764651

but larger, with mantle  and upper back 

© Tom TarrantMoreton Bay, Queensland, Australia 11 Jan 2009Macaulay Library ML 204893141eBird S65090059

oil green, inner series of upperwing-coverts pale green 

© Rémi BigonneauYarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia 28 Sep 2010Macaulay Library ML 205883481eBird S65182121


© David taylorScenic Rim, Queensland, Australia 01 Apr 2009Macaulay Library ML 205575861eBird S65117309

oil green tinged blue; undertail-coverts broadly scalloped green; tail  greenish black above, greyish black below. Female 

© David taylorScenic Rim, Queensland, Australia 01 Jun 2010Macaulay Library ML 205575871eBird S65117429

like female A. chloropterus but with undertail-coverts scalloped green, occasional hint of pale scapulars, bill dark brownish. Immature like female but bill  paler. Race minor  smaller.

Systematics History

Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.Two subspecies recognized.



Alisterus scapularis minor Scientific name definitions


NE Australia (NE Queensland).


Alisterus scapularis scapularis Scientific name definitions


E Australia (NC Queensland S to S Victoria).


Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future we will develop a range-wide distribution article.


Rain forest  Eucalyptus woodland, dense riparian scrub and occasionally adjacent savanna from sea-level to 1600 m, utilizing these more open habitats outside breeding season, when also visits urban parklands and farm areas.


Notably in S of range flocks descend from mountains in late autumn and remain in lowlands until Sept. Year-round lowland birds appear to be resident once adult, but immatures show undefined movements, forming flocks of up to 30 in autumn. Birds of all ages may congregate at concentrated food resources such as fruiting trees and ripening maize.

Diet and Foraging

Seeds of eucalypts, acacias and Angophora particularly favoured, also of Baloghia lucida, plus fruits and berries of Geijera parvifloraSolanum nigrumS. auriculatum and Phytolacca octandra, mistletoes, grass seeds, nectar, blossoms and buds. Birds raid orchards, maize and sorghum crops, sometimes taking spilt grain from farmyards, and come into gardens to feed on cultivated PyracanthaCotoneaster and Crataegus berries plus Quercus acorns.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Commonest vocalization a repeated clear metallic short whistle, e.g. “kee…kee…kee”, either upslurred or even-pitched. Also a repeated piercing “kreet!” and a harsh “krek!” or doubled “chack-chack” in flight. When feeding also gives a quiet guttural cackling.


Sept–Jan. Nest in hollow limb or in deep hole in tall forest tree. Eggs  3–6, usually 5; incubation, by female only, lasts c. 20 days; nestling period c. 5 weeks.

Conservation Status

Conservation status on BirdlifeLC Least Concern

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally common but lost from cleared and afforested areas.

Like it? Share with your friends!