The small, stocky Orange-bellied Grass Parakeet (Neophema chrysogaster) averages 20 cm / 8 inches in length. It is noticeably smaller than the superficially similar and much more familiar Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus).
The plumage of this ground-dwelling parrot is primarily a deep, grassy green. It has a blue forehead-band (that does not extend behind the eye), a greenish face, and blue wing-edges. The orange patch on the yellow belly is not a very reliable field mark.
They do well in planted aviaries and will accept any parakeet-sized nesting boxes. They usually breed twice a year (spring and autumn). An average clutch consists of 4 to 6 eggs. They may produce two, and under optimal conditions, even 3 clutches a year.
- Pease refer to this website for additional information on care and housing.
- General Information on Care and Disposition
- Photo Gallery of Grasskeets
- Parakeet Nutrition
- Common Diseases of the Grasskeets
- Aviary Birds / Breeding
Range / Conservation Efforts:
The Orange-bellied Parrot breeds in Tasmania and winters in coastal grasslands on southern mainland mainland coast of south-eastern South Australia and southern Victoria. Typical winter habitat is saltmarsh and strandline/foredune vegetation communities either on coastlines or coastal lagoons. Spits and islands are favoured but they will turn up anywhere within these coastal regions. With an estimated wild population of around 180 birds, it is regarded as a critically endangered species. The species can be found foraging in weedy areas associated with these coastal habitats or even in totally modified landscapes such as pastures, seed crops and golf courses. It sometimes feeds with the very similar Blue-winged Parrot (Neophema chrysotoma).
Habitat and ecology
- On the mainland, the Orange-bellied Parrot spends winter mostly within 3 km of the coast in sheltered coastal habitats including bays, lagoons, estuaries, coastal dunes and saltmarshes. The species also inhabits small islands and peninsulas and occasionally saltworks and golf courses. Birds forageDiet mainly comprises seeds and fruits of sedges and salt-tolerant coastal and saltmarsh plants. Occasionally, flowers and stems are eaten.
- Orange-bellied Parrots are known to forage among flocks of Blue-winged Parrots.
- Recent records from unexpected places, including Shellharbour and Maroubra suggest that the species may be expanding their selection of habitats and foraging plant species. Birds seen in NSW in 2003 were foraging on weed species several hundred metres from the coast.
- Fragmentation and degradation of coastal overwintering habitats on the NSW coast including saltmarsh and dune habitats from grazing, agricultural and residential impacts.
- Fox and cat predation are known threats to Orange-bellied Parrots.
- Competition for food resources with other seed eaters.
- Psittacine Circoviral Disease (PCD) has been recorded in captive and wild populations.
Copyright Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (Note: link removed since non-functioning)
Genus: Scientific: Neophema ... English: Elegant Parrots ... Dutch: Elegante Parkieten ... German: Grassittiche ... French: Perruche neophema
Species: Scientific: Neophema chrysogaster ... English: Orange-bellied Parrot ... Dutch: Oranjebuikparkiet, Oranjeborstparki ... French: Perruche à ventre orangé
CITES I - Protected Species
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