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Australian King Parrots as Pets

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Australian King Parrots as Pets Theo Allofs/Getty Images

Common Name:

Australian King Parrot

Scientific Name:

Alisterus scapularis.

Origin:

Australia.

Size:

Australian King Parrots are rather large birds, averaging between 16 and 18 inches in length from the beak to the tips of the tail feathers.

Average Lifespan:

In captivity, Australian King Parrots live an average of 25 to 30 years with proper care.

Temperament:

Australian King Parrots are not overly affectionate birds, and most tend to prefer not to be handled. While there is the occasional exception, even King Parrots who were hand-fed as babies tend to not bond as strongly with their owners as some other parrot species, such as Cockatoos. This is not to say that these birds are anti-social -- to the contrary, many Australian King Parrots do enjoy interacting with their owners and even learn to say to a few words. If you are looking for a "cuddly" parrot, however, then this is probably not the best species for you.

Colors:

Australian King Parrots are a dimorphic bird species. Male Australian King Parrots have bright red plumage on their heads and chests, vivid green feathers on their backs and tails, and blue feathers underneath their wings. Females of the species have green feathers on their heads, backs, and chests, red on their bellies, and a patch of blue on their rumps. Both sexes have dark gray skin on their feet and legs.

Feeding:

In the wild, Australian King Parrots feast on a diet of fruits, nuts, berries, seeds, and flowers. In captivity, as with all pet birds, proper nutrition is essential to a King Parrot's health. Most King Parrot owners offer their birds a high quality commercial pellet and seed mix, supplemented with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables such as corn, carrots, mango, bananas, and leafy greens like spinach. Although high in fat, nut treats such as almonds and peanuts are a favorite of these birds. Whole grains like oats, millet, and quinoa are also readily accepted at feeding time.

Exercise:

Australian King Parrots, being large birds, need plenty of room to exercise. These birds love to climb, swing, and chew, so a very large cage with plenty of safe toys is the optimum environment for them. Although they generally don't crave human interaction as much as some other parrot species, they still require a minimum of 3 to 4 hours of supervised out-of-cage playtime per day. This should take place in a large "bird-proof" area of your home, as Australian King Parrots are very curious and intelligent and can get themselves into trouble if precautions aren't taken to ensure their safety.

Australian King Parrots as Pets:

While they are large parrots, Australian King Parrots are known to be among the more quiet parrot species, and tend to not scream as much as other large hookbills like Macaws. Instead, they tend to pleasantly vocalize at an audible but very agreeable level, and will entertain their owners with their whistles and chatter. When properly socialized and motivated, Australian King Parrots can learn to talk, but they are not especially noted for remarkable speaking ability.

Although the vast majority of Australian King Parrots prefer minimal handling, they can be hand tamed by patient owners and are reported to be among the most gentle large parrots in the world. This is not to say that an Australian King Parrot will never bite, because all parrots will bite. However, these birds seem to prefer more peaceful methods of interacting with their human caretakers.

While highly sought after due to their quiet nature and beautiful colors, it can be hard to find an Australian King Parrot. If you are looking to adopt one as a pet, try contacting your local exotic bird club or aviculture society and ask them if they know of any breeders in your area. Once you are in contact with a breeder, ask plenty of questions and try to make an appointment to visit with them and their birds. It is important to understand exactly what it is like to live with an Australian King Parrot, or any bird, before bringing one home!
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