Species group: Australian Parakeets
Other common names: Barraband's Parrot; Barraband's Parakeet
Scientific name: Polytelis swainsonii
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.)
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
Sunny was full of sunshine
A few years ago, I adopted Sunny and Cleo, two Barrabands that had been severely abused and neglected for most of their lives. A few months later, Cleo was put down due to irreparable damage caused by their mistreatment (her bloodstream was essentially poisoned, and nothing we did could save her). It was an incredibly difficult time; however, Sunny, her mate, suffered the most.
For a little while, he was unapproachable. He was essentially the embodiment of grief. But true to their nature, my little Barraband slowly healed, and flourished into an incredible bird.
As is common with this species, Sunny was extremely affectionate and friendly. My entire family was able to bond with him. In fact, he absolutely loved to give kisses!
He was also open to try any new (and acceptable) food we gave him, so feeding him was never an issue. Likewise were his toys and stands, whereas he loved both purchased and made items - this saved us a lot of money! We really couldn't have asked for a better companion.
His cage, which was large enough for both himself and Cleo, was the only somewhat difficult aspect about having him. It was large and awkward to clean. On another note, Sunny would often take this as an opportunity to wash in his bird bath, thus helping us clean (or so we like to believe).
Over time, Sunny grew lonely. It didn't matter that we had three other birds - he missed the companionship of his own species. He slowly became depressed, and his health began to plummet. Fortunately, we acted quickly, and through trial and error, we found him a new home - a Barraband sanctuary - where he still continues to be the very best he can possibly be.
For anyone looking into these super birds, I promise you that you won't be disappointed. While our circumstances were heartbreaking, the few years we spent with him were some of the very best, and they could be for you as well..
From Shurtubise Jan 2 2015 8:45PM