Superb Parrot

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Is the Superb Parrot right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Barraband's Parrot; Barraband's Parakeet

Scientific name: Polytelis swainsonii

The basics:
The Superb Parrot is a bird breeder's favorite because of its iridescent green feathers that catch the light. They are reasonably easy to care for, reliable breeders, and good-tempered birds that are not too fearful or aggressive. The hand-fed babies, when they're available, can be sweet pets. Some individuals can even learn to talk. However, you're unlikely to be able to tame down a wild adult.

These highly social flocking parakeets are endemic to specialized woodland habitat in southeastern Australia. This species has faced a number of challenges, including a logging scandal in 2005 which resulted in the removal of a number of hollow trees required for breeding. Until recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) had listed the species as vulnerable. However, as of 2012, new research suggests that there are now over 10,000 birds in the wild, and the Superb Parrot seems more secure for now, so it has been downlisted to a “species of least concern.”

A striking Australian grass parakeet with bright green plumage. Adult Superb Parrots are easy to sex. The male has a cheerful yellow crown and throat, with a scarlet bib at the base of his neck. The female never develops these color features.

132 - 157 grams (4.7 - 5.5 oz.)

Average size:
40 centimeters (16 in.)

10 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
At least one breeder advises that if you want to keep them as pets, the Superb Parrots must be hand-fed by humans from an early age, so that humans are accepted as the parents. If you do find a hand-fed Superb Parrot, you are in luck, because these highly social birds are well-regarded for being non-aggressive, gentle, and intelligent. If kept in pairs or colonies, of course, they will focus their affection on their own kind.

The Superb Parrot benefits from a large cage to encourage them to move and to exercise. A small macaw cage might not be too much, provided the bar spacing wasn't too wide. A minimum size for a single pet might be 36”w by 24”d by 36” tall. However, the majority of pairs or colonies are undoubtedly housed in custom-built aviaries, to show off these birds to perfection and to give them the opportunity to fly. They tend to spend a lot of time on the floor, so take care to provide a substrate that is easily cleaned, to prevent the spread of worms or other diseases.

The Superb Parrot is relatively easy to feed. A high quality small seed mix is usually the backbone of the diet, but be sure to provide plenty of soaked and sprouted seeds, seeding heads, and millet sprays as well. You should provide access to chopped fruits and vegetables, with plenty of chopped greens. Do not offer avocado or chocolate, as these items are toxic to all parrots.

Like cockatiels, the Superb Parrot may refuse to recognize pellets as food, requiring you to bake a good birdie bread or to mix up a good egg food once in awhile to encourage them to enjoy some protein. They are ground feeders in the wild, and some breeders advise offering food bowls on the ground to encourage your picky eaters. Breeders report that they may enjoy live insect food such as waxworms or mealworms in the breeding season.

Written by Elaine Radford


interaction, social bird, tricks, entire family, incredible bird

Superb Parrot Health Tip

Superb Parrot

From Jan 2 2015 8:45PM


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