This colourful inhabitant of open grasslands is aptly named the Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus). Seldom seen far from water courses, this slender parrot is the subject of our #50 Bird Photography Challenge.
What does it look like?
The Red-rumped Parrot is a medium sized parrot measuring about 28 cm in length. The plumage of the adult male is particularly vibrant, with multiple colours including turquoise on the back, emerald green on the head, red on the rump and yellow on the shoulders and belly. The female is duller, looking more olive-green, without the red rump.
Did you know?
Often feeding in small flocks that are easily startled. These parrots can be hard to spot in the grass, their green plumage providing an excellent camouflage. But come a little too close to them and they will let you know, flying off with a distinctive penetrating call.
How does it behave?
Another name for the Red-rumped Parrot is Grass Parrot, which gives an indication of its preferred foraging ground: among short grass, where it takes seeds and leaves. If disturbed while feeding, a flock of “grassies” will call noisily and fly to a nearby tree or even power lines as in the photo here, before returning to the ground once danger has passed.
The female usually selects the nesting site, typically a hollow in a eucalyptus tree, and incubates the eggs, while the male feeds her regularly.
Where is it found?
Found mainly in south eastern Australia, the Red-rumped Parrot inhabits lightly timbered woodlands with grassy understorey or cleared farmland. We sometimes see them feeding with other parrots in suburban parks and gardens, including Eastern Rosellas and Galahs. The photos in the gallery were taken on the edge of Swan Bay, in Victoria, with a Canon 7d mark II camera and Canon EF100-400 lens, hand-held.
Click on any image in the gallery to display in full screen.