Red-capped Parrot


Red-capped Parrot 36 cm; 98–156 g. Entire crown 

Red-capped-Parrots

 

crimson, face  and ear-coverts yellowish green 

Red-capped Parrot

; underparts purple, with flanks, thighs, and under tail-coverts  red; nape, mantle 

Red-capped-Parrot

 

and wing-coverts green, flight-feathers dark, with underwing-coverts and outer webs of primaries dull blue; rump and upper tail-coverts yellowish green; tail green, distally darker, lateral feathers pale blue tipped whitish. Female duller, with wing stripe on underwing; flanks and under tail-coverts with green. Immature 

Red-capped Parrots

 

has a green head, dull russet breast, and belly.

Systematics History

Monotypic.

Subspecies

Monotypic.

Distribution

Extreme SW Australia, mostly within 100 km of coast.

Habitat

Marri Eucalyptus calophylla forest and trees in pristine and altered landscapes including farmland, roadsides and watercourses, also visiting parkland and orchards.

Movement

Adults are mainly sedentary but fluctuations in local numbers of immatures occur according to food availability; also nomadism at dry edges of the range.

Diet and Foraging

Seeds of marri and other eucalypts, notably Jarra E. marginata and E. cornuta, also those of GrevilleaHakeaCasuarinaXylomelumAgonis and grasses, especially Avena fatua; plus blossoms (several eucalypts), leaf buds and insects and their larvae, in particular psyllid lerps. Sometimes damages apples, pears, and citrus fruits.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Flight call a harsh and hoarse, short “kcheh”, typically repeated in loose series. Also a three-note nasal “ke-ke-keh”, and several short squeaky notes when perched.

Breeding

Aug–Dec. Nest in hollow limb or hole in the tree, commonly high in Jarra, marri, or wandoo (E. wandoo). Eggs  4–7; incubation lasts c. 20 days; nestling period c. 5 weeks.

Conservation Status

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Fairly common, sometimes entering suburbs of Perth. While marri, regarded as a weed species, may actually have spread following the human occupation of SW Australia, thus benefiting this parrot, poor regeneration of nest trees is a long-term cause for concern, and the restricted range of the specific compounds the situation. In two shires of Western Australia, there are open seasons when birds may be killed to reduce orchard damage.


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Amanda