Psittaculidae – Old World Parrots

Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis ©Ken Behrens Website

Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. Most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism in the visual spectrum. They form the most variably sized bird order in terms of length. The most important components of most parrots’ diets are seeds, nuts, fruit, buds, and other plant material. A few species sometimes eat animals and carrion, while the lories and lorikeets are specialised for feeding on floral nectar and soft fruits. Almost all parrots nest in tree hollows (or nest boxes in captivity), and lay white eggs from which hatch altricial (helpless) young.

Parrots, along with ravens, crows, jays, and magpies, are among the most intelligent birds, and the ability of some species to imitate human voices enhances their popularity as pets. Some parrots are intelligent and talk at the level of a four-to-five year old human. Trapping wild parrots for the pet trade, as well as hunting, habitat loss, and competition from invasive species, has diminished wild populations, with parrots being subjected to more exploitation than any other group of birds. Measures taken to conserve the habitats of some high-profile charismatic species have also protected many of the less charismatic species living in the same ecosystems.

Recent taxonomic evidence has divided the parrots into four distinct families of New Zealand Parrots (3), Cockatoos (21), African and New World Parrots (177) and the Psittaculidae or Old World Parrots (180). The latter group are:

Pesquet’s Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus

Greater Vasa Parrot Coracopsis vasa
Lesser Vasa Parrot Coracopsis nigra
Seychelles Black Parrot Coracopsis barklyi

Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta keiensis
Geelvink Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta geelvinkiana
Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta pusio
Meek’s Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta meeki
Finsch’s Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta finschii
Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta bruijnii

Superb Parrot Polytelis swainsonii
Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus
Princess Parrot Polytelis alexandrae

Moluccan King Parrot Alisterus amboinensis
Papuan King Parrot Alisterus chloropterus
Australian King Parrot Alisterus scapularis

Jonquil Parrot Aprosmictus jonquillaceus
Red-winged Parrot Aprosmictus erythropterus

Buru Racket-tail Prioniturus mada
Golden-mantled Racket-tail Prioniturus platurus
Mindanao Racket-tail Prioniturus waterstradti
Montane Racket-tail Prioniturus montanus
Blue-headed Racket-tail Prioniturus platenae
Mindoro Racket-tail Prioniturus mindorensis
Blue-winged Racket-tail Prioniturus verticalis
Yellow-breasted Racket-tail Prioniturus flavicans
Green Racket-tail Prioniturus luconensis
Blue-crowned Racket-tail Prioniturus discurus

Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus

Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi
Blue-collared Parrot Geoffroyus simplex
Song Parrot Geoffroyus heteroclitus

Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus

Great-billed Parrot Tanygnathus megalorynchos
Blue-naped Parrot Tanygnathus lucionensis
Blue-backed Parrot Tanygnathus sumatranus
Black-lored Parrot Tanygnathus gramineus

Grey-headed Parakeet Psittacula finschii
Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayana
Blossom-headed Parakeet Psittacula roseata
Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala
Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri
Lord Derby’s Parakeet Psittacula derbiana
Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda
Blue-winged Parakeet Psittacula columboides
Layard’s Parakeet Psittacula calthrapae
Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria
Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Echo Parakeet Psittacula eques
Nicobar Parakeet Psittacula caniceps

Brehm’s Tiger Parrot Psittacella brehmii
Painted Tiger Parrot Psittacella picta
Modest Tiger Parrot Psittacella modesta
Madarasz’s Tiger Parrot Psittacella madaraszi

Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus

Eastern Bluebonnet Northiella haematogaster
Naretha Bluebonnet Northiella narethae

Mulga Parrot Psephotellus varius
Hooded Parrot Psephotellus dissimilis
Golden-shouldered Parrot Psephotellus chrysopterygius

Red-capped Parrot Purpureicephalus spurius

Green Rosella Platycercus caledonicus
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans
Northern Rosella Platycercus venustus
Pale-headed Rosella Platycercus adscitus
Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius
Western Rosella Platycercus icterotis

Australian Ringneck Barnardius zonarius

Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor

Crimson Shining Parrot Prosopeia splendens
Masked Shining Parrot Prosopeia personata
Maroon Shining Parrot Prosopeia tabuensis

Horned Parakeet Eunymphicus cornutus
Ouvea Parakeet Eunymphicus uvaeensis

New Caledonian Parakeet Cyanoramphus saisseti
Chatham Parakeet Cyanoramphus forbesi
Norfolk Parakeet Cyanoramphus cookii
Antipodes Parakeet Cyanoramphus unicolor
Yellow-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus auriceps
Malherbe’s Parakeet Cyanoramphus malherbi
Red-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae
Reischek’s Parakeet Cyanoramphus hochstetteri

Eastern Ground Parrot Pezoporus wallicus
Western Ground Parrot Pezoporus flaviventris
Night Parrot Pezoporus occidentalis

Bourke’s Parrot Neopsephotus bourkii

Blue-winged Parrot Neophema chrysostoma
Elegant Parrot Neophema elegans
Rock Parrot Neophema petrophila
Orange-bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster
Turquoise Parrot Neophema pulchella
Scarlet-chested Parrot Neophema splendida

Plum-faced Lorikeet Oreopsittacus arfaki

Palm Lorikeet Charmosyna palmarum
Red-chinned Lorikeet Charmosyna rubrigularis
Meek’s Lorikeet Charmosyna meeki
Blue-fronted Lorikeet Charmosyna toxopei
Striated Lorikeet Charmosyna multistriata
Pygmy Lorikeet Charmosyna wilhelminae
Red-fronted Lorikeet Charmosyna rubronotata
Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentis
Red-throated Lorikeet Charmosyna amabilis
Duchess Lorikeet Charmosyna margarethae
Fairy Lorikeet Charmosyna pulchella
Josephine’s Lorikeet Charmosyna josefinae
Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou

Blue-crowned Lorikeet Vini australis
Kuhl’s Lorikeet Vini kuhlii
Stephen’s Lorikeet Vini stepheni
Blue Lorikeet Vini peruviana
Ultramarine Lorikeet Vini ultramarina

Collared Lory Phigys solitarius

Yellow-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus musschenbroekii
Orange-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus pullicauda

Little Lorikeet Parvipsitta pusilla
Purple-crowned Lorikeet Parvipsitta porphyrocephala

Chattering Lory Lorius garrulus
Purple-naped Lory Lorius domicella
Black-capped Lory Lorius lory
Purple-bellied Lory Lorius hypoinochrous
White-naped Lory Lorius albidinucha
Yellow-bibbed Lory Lorius chlorocercus

Black Lory Chalcopsitta atra
Brown Lory Chalcopsitta duivenbodei
Yellowish-streaked Lory Chalcopsitta scintillata

Dusky Lory Pseudeos fuscata
Cardinal Lory Pseudeos cardinalis

Varied Lorikeet Psitteuteles versicolor
Iris Lorikeet Psitteuteles iris
Goldie’s Lorikeet Psitteuteles goldiei

Red-and-blue Lory Eos histrio
Violet-necked Lory Eos squamata
Red Lory Eos bornea
Blue-streaked Lory Eos reticulata
Black-winged Lory Eos cyanogenia
Blue-eared Lory Eos semilarvata

Ornate Lorikeet Trichoglossus ornatus
Sunset Lorikeet Trichoglossus forsteni
Leaf Lorikeet Trichoglossus weberi
Marigold Lorikeet Trichoglossus capistratus
Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
Biak Lorikeet Trichoglossus rosenbergii
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus
Red-collared Lorikeet Trichoglossus rubritorquis
Olive-headed Lorikeet Trichoglossus euteles
Citrine Lorikeet Trichoglossus flavoviridis
Mindanao Lorikeet Trichoglossus johnstoniae
Pohnpei Lorikeet Trichoglossus rubiginosus
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus

Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna

Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus

Large Fig Parrot Psittaculirostris desmarestii
Edwards’s Fig Parrot Psittaculirostris edwardsii
Salvadori’s Fig Parrot Psittaculirostris salvadorii

Orange-breasted Fig Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii
Double-eyed Fig Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma

Guaiabero Bolbopsittacus lunulatus

Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis
Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot Loriculus beryllinus
Philippine Hanging Parrot Loriculus philippensis
Camiguin Hanging Parrot Loriculus camiguinensis
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus
Great Hanging Parrot Loriculus stigmatus
Moluccan Hanging Parrot Loriculus amabilis
Sula Hanging Parrot Loriculus sclateri
Sangihe Hanging Parrot Loriculus catamene
Orange-fronted Hanging Parrot Loriculus aurantiifrons
Bismarck Hanging Parrot Loriculus tener
Pygmy Hanging Parrot Loriculus exilis
Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot Loriculus pusillus
Wallace’s Hanging Parrot Loriculus flosculus

Grey-headed Lovebird Agapornis canus
Red-headed Lovebird Agapornis pullarius
Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis taranta
Black-collared Lovebird Agapornis swindernianus
Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis
Fischer’s Lovebird Agapornis fischeri
Yellow-collared Lovebird Agapornis personatus
Lilian’s Lovebird Agapornis lilianae
Black-cheeked Lovebird Agapornis nigrigenis

Species Links
  • Pesquet's Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus

    IUCN Species Status
  • Pesquet's Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Pesquet's Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus

    Species Account
    Pesquet's parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus) also known as the vulturine parrot (leading to easy confusion with Pyrilia vulturina from Brazil), is the only member of its genus, and its genus is the only member of the subfamily Psittrichadinae. It is endemic to hill and montane rainforest in New Guinea.
  • Pesquet's Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus

    Species Account
    Also known as: Vulturine Parrot
  • Rainbow Lorikeet richoglossus moluccanus

    IUCN Species Status
  • Rainbow Lorikeet richoglossus moluccanus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Rainbow Lorikeet richoglossus moluccanus

    Species Account
    The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) is a species of parrot found in Australia. It is common along the eastern seaboard, from northern Queensland to South Australia and Tasmania.
  • Rainbow Lorikeet richoglossus moluccanus

    Species Account
    Both adults strong purple/blue streaking on entire head; yellow/orange breast with barring minimal or absent; collar yellow/green; deep purple/blue abdomen.
  • Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus

    Species Account
    Sound archive and distribution map.
  • Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus

    Species Account
    The regent parrot or rock pebbler (Polytelis anthopeplus) is a bird of the parrot family (Psittacidae). It has predominantly yellow plumage with a green tail. The bird is found primarily in eucalyptus groves and other wooded areas of subtropical southwestern Australia, as well as in a smaller area of subtropical and temperate southeastern Australia. Seeds make up the bulk of its diet. Regent parrots are popular in captivity.
  • Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus

    Species Account
    Also known as: Smoker, Smoker Parrot, Mallee Smoker, Rock Pebbler, Rock Peplar, Black-tailed Parrot or Parakeet, Regal Parrot, Marlock Parrot
Useful Reading
  • Naturalized Parrots of the World - Distribution, Ecology, and Impacts of the World's Most Colorful Colonizers

    | Edited by Stephen Pruett-Jones | Princeton University Press | 2021 | Hardback | 304 Pages | 50 colour photos, colour illustrations and colour maps | £34.99p | ISBN: 9780691204413 Buy this book from

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