Home Nature Birds The Elegant Red-capped Parrot

The Elegant Red-capped Parrot

Most feeding is done through much of the day high in the tree crowns where the birds are hard to see. Photo Credit Wikimedia


RED-CAPPED PARROTS AND THE MARRI TREE “Eucalyptus calophylla” go together. This Red-capped Parrot not only favors the hollows in marri for nesting but also depends on its seeds for food. It is even possible that the parrot’s very long and slender bill has become adapted to extract the seeds out of large marri fruit capsules.


Most feeding is done through much of the day high in the tree crowns where the birds are hard to see. The parrots also come to the ground from time to time to feed on fallen marri and other fruits and seeds, particularly those of grasses along roadsides in the early mornings of spring and summer. Additional foods eaten are the seeds of other eucalypts, grevilleas, hakea and casuarinas, orchard fruits and occasional lerps, and other leaf insects.
Adults and immature birds commonly forage in different situations. The juvenile bird banding into wandering flocks of 20 or so. Therefore, the adults, apparently permanently mated, tend to keep to isolated pairs in the same patch of nesting timber year-round.
Their flight between trees is a rapid fluttering broken by very shallowly undulating glides. In display, there is no mutual preening. With a harsh rattling, the male alights on the perch by the female, erects his red cap, drops the wing to expose his yellowish rump, and slowly raises his fanned tail. He also feeds the female in courtship while she is incubating and brooding young.
the average life span of a red-capped parrot is 15 years or so.
The average life span of a red-capped parrot is 15 years or so.


Red-capped Parrot has many other names. Hence, the most popular names are “King Parrot”, “Western King Parrot”, “Pileated Parakeet”, “Hookbill”, Western Australian King Parrot, and Red-capped Parakeet.  


The average length of a Red-capped Parrot in Western Australia is about 360-370 mm, including a long tapered tail. The average weight is between 110 and 160 g.


Red-capped Parrot “Purpureicephalus spuriousMALE forehead crown is nape dark red; back and wings deep green, grading to deep blue on flight feathers. Thus, the cheeks rump and upper tail coverts are bright yellow-green, breast and upper belly are deep blue-violet. The lower belly and crissum are red mixed with some bright green. Also, the underwing coverts are blue; the underside of flight feathers is black. The central tail feathers are deep green, outer tail feathers are blue-tipped with white or eye dark-brown. Normally the bill is whitish gray, and cere leaden. The feet and toes are deep olive-gray.
FEMALE: Duller than male. More green on flanks and under tail coverts. Some birds have green feathers on the crown and a dull gray-mauve breast.
IMMATURE: The crown and nape are green; the frontal band is rust-colored. Blue on wings and tail and yellow-green on cheeks are noticeably reduced in both extent and intensity. Also, there is a distinct white stripe on the wings. The underparts are dull red-brown, washed with violet-blue lower down; the lower belly and crissum red strongly suffused with pale green. Young males have acquired much of the adult plumage by the first complete moult, at 12 to15 months, but young females may not acquire adult plumage until the second moult.
DOWNY YOUNG: White-downed, yellow-billed.


The call of the Red-capped Parrot is a grating kurr-ak repeated several times, uttered regularly during flight. Hence, the sharp shrieks in the alarm as no chattering when feeding. Furthermore, the little birds do not have the ability to talk very well. Yes, there is a mimicry possible but infrequent case. So, all they have ability to their natural calls.


The breeding season starts from August till December. The parrot built a nest with a hollow limb or hole usually high in a tree, generally a marri. The clutch contains four to seven eggs, frequently five in white color. The eggs are the rounded size of 26-27 x 22-23 mm that are laid on wood dust. The female takes on incubation responsibilities which takes about 20 days. The young bird is fed by regurgitation by the female for the first two weeks and then by both sexes leaves the nest about five weeks after hatching.


The elegant and remarkable species are found in only one place in the world – the southwestern corner of Australia. Red-capped Parrot is restricted to southwestern Australia, from just north of Perth to the south coast west of Esperance. The eastern boundary coincides roughly with Great South Railway. Inhabits eucalypt forests and open-timbered lands, extending to parks and gardens. However, it is sedentary, but local movement according to the availability of food.


Although most parrots have a long life.  But the average life span of a red-capped parrot is 15 years or so.


The population trend is growing but has not been quantified. This is quite a common parakeet in Western Australia. So, it is listed as the Least Concern in the list of IUCN.
Images of Red-capped Parrot

Related Reading – Alexandrine parakeet (Psittacula eupatria)



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