Marvel at a Flying Rainbow in your Backyard with the Superb Parrot
The breathtaking Superb Parrot didn’t get his name by accident.
As this small and graceful parrot flies, his brightly coloured feathers of red, green, yellow and blue will make it look as though he is painting a rainbow in the sky for you to enjoy.
If you are the audience of the Superb Parrot’s homegrown art, you are one of the lucky few.
The Superb Parrot is a rare sight, and is listed as a vulnerable species in the ACT and NSW, endangered in Victoria, and is protected nationally and internationally under laws and conventions.
You can help look after Superb Parrots in your Backyard
Superb Parrots feed mainly on the ground during early mornings and late afternoons. They forage for food with family members or in small flocks of up to thirty birds. Superb Parrots enjoy eating the seeds of grasses and plants, fruits, berries, nectar, flowers and some insects.
Superb Parrots also search for food in shrubs and trees, and build their nests using wood dust in the hollows of mature or dead trees.
Try to plant native trees in your backyard for Superb Parrots to munch on. Also leave any mature or dead trees standing, especially large, tall gum trees and eucalypts. These are Superb Parrots favourite nesting trees, and it takes about 100 years for a gum tree to develop the deep hollows that Superb Parrots need.
Be a Backyard Buddy
Superb Parrots usually build their nests very close to water. Many pairs choose a tree with branches that overhang a river.
Although this may be a hard target to achieve in your backyard, you can still help Superb Parrots out. Just place some clean, fresh water in a dish in your backyard to refresh Superb Parrots and their little ones, and they will enjoy visiting your garden.
Superb Parrots love:
- Munching on psyllids and their lerps, which are the insects' crystallised honeydew covering.
- Having their nest tree quite close to their feed trees, which are usually not more than 10 km away.
- Eating grain spilled from passing trucks onto roads, especially during harvest seasons.
But they don't like:
- Eating seeds contaminated by pesticides, which poison them.
- Common Starlings, Common Mynas and honey bees. These all compete with Superb Parrots for nest trees. This competition is especially difficult because Superb Parrots are not very territorial.
- Being trapped, or having their eggs or babies taken away to be sold as pets. This is illegal under Australian law.
Be a Buddy to Superb Parrots
- Plant native trees and shrubs in your backyard for Superb Parrots to eat. They particularly enjoy eucalypt flowers and native Common Wallaby Grass.
- Be watchful when driving near any crop-growing farms. There may be a flock of Superb Parrots feeding on seeds spilled onto the road by passing trucks.
- Call the National Parks and Wildlife Service of your state to make a report if you see any Superb Parrots being trapped, or having their eggs or babies taken away.
- Using pesticides in your garden. Superb Parrots munch on bugs such as psyllids. Over time, a bird can get sick from eating too many bugs poisoned by pesticides and chemicals.
- Letting your cat spend much time outdoors. You can install a cat run outside so your cat can have their freedom without posing a threat to the Superb Parrot or other native birds.
- Cutting down trees in your backyard, even if they are old or dead. The main threat to Superb Parrots is the clearing of trees, so any trees you have will provide a welcome refuge.
Don't be surprised if Superb Parrots:
- Are just as swift and graceful as they are beautiful. Their wing beats are quick and effortless, making them soar through the sky with ease.
- Are difficult to spot. Although they are brightly coloured and distinctive, there are only a few thousand Superb Parrots left in Australia.
A few more Superb Parrots facts
Superb Parrots profile:
- Superb Parrots are around 37-42 cm long, which is a medium size for a parrot. Male and females share similar features, including their brownish red beak and red eyes. The males however are brighter in colour, with a yellow forehead and cheeks, scarlet chest, and green body. The females are mainly green with a gold tinge and red thighs with splashes of pink.
- Superb Parrots live in different parts of south-east Australia throughout the year. In summer, they live in the Riverina areas of NSW and Victoria, and in winter Superb Parrots migrate to north-central NSW near the Namoi and Macquarie rivers.
- In the wild, Superb Parrots prefer open forests and woodlands near rivers. They especially love forests with plenty of mature River Red Gum trees to breed in. Other trees they are fond of include Blakely’s Red Gum, White Box, Red Box, Apple Box and Green Box trees.
- Superb Parrots have a number of nicknames, including Barraband’s Parrot, the Green Leek, and the Scarlet-Breasted Parrot. They communicate in a strong, sharp 'krak-karrark' sound.