Notes on Breeding and Hand-feeding Hooded Parrots

Fred Perry, Lyrae Perry

Abstract


The hooded parrot (Psepbotus chrysopterygius dissimilis), is one of the most outstandingly beautiful members of the Psephotus genus. This little bird is actually a subspecies of the golden-shouldered parrot (Psephotus cbrysopterygius). The range of the hooded parrot is quite restricted; from the Macarthur River, west to the Arnham Land plateau in the Northern Territory of Australia. The wild population is on the decline most probably due to illegal trapping and various other man-made and natural disasters. For these reasons, hooded parrots are quite rare in collections today.

The adult male is turquoise blue over most of the body, rump, and cheeks. The feathers are highly irridescent, giving the male a jewel-like appearance. The wing patches are bright yellow. The head has a black "hood" which extends down the nape and blends into the back which is greenish-black. The tail and flight feathers are also greenish-black, central tail feathers are tipped in white. The vent feathers are crimson. The adult female is a soft blue-green overall, with the wings and tail feathers being olive green, the central tail feathers are also tipped in white, and the vent feathers are a lighter shade of red, or salmon pink. The young birds resemble the females in coloration.

The hooded parrots available to aviculturists today are domestically raised individuals, and are descendants of European stock. Hooded parrots have a reputation for being delicate and difficult to keep alive, much less breed in captivity. This delicate nature can be much compensated for by handling the birds according to details outlined in this article. In our experience, these methods have greatly improved the survival rate of baby hooded parrots.

Hooded parrots in the wild nest in termite mounds from May through January. The babies hatch with a light down feather, which wears off quickly, leaving them quite naked. A heavy down feathering would actually be a problem since the termite mound generates enough heat to keep the babies warm, thus freeing the parents to seek food at greater distances from the nest. The termite mounds provide the perfect nursery, being constant in temperature and free from drafts.

 


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