Moluccan King Parrot (Alisterus amboinensis)

Moluccan King Parrot

Moluccan King Parrot

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Alisterus amboinensis | [authority] Linnaeus, 1766 | [UK] Moluccan King Parrot | [FR] Perruche tricolor | [DE] Amboinasittich | [ES] Papagayo Moluqueno | [NL] Molukse Koningsparkiet | [copyright picture] Loro Parque Fundacion


Monotypic species


Classified in the subfamily Psittacinae within the true parrot family, the genus Alisterus was described by Australian amateur ornithologist Gregory Mathews in 1911. They were previously considered part of the genus Aprosmictus, which contains the Red-winged and Olive-shouldered Parrots. The king parrots appear to be most closely related to the genera Aprosmictus and the long-tailed parrots of the genus Polytelis, united by similarities in food begging and contact calls by chicks, and by more recent molecular analysis in 2005. The molecular work placed this group in turn as sister to a group containing Eclectus, Tanygnathus, and Psittacula. The three species are forest-dwelling, and are found singly, in pairs, or in groups.

Physical charateristics

A.a. amboinensis: both adults red head and underparts; mantle to upper tail coverts violet/blue; wings soft green; tail black washed with violet/blue, the outside feathers with dull pink edging. Upper mandible orange/red tipped with black, lower mandible black. Eye orange. A.a. sulaensis: as in amboinensis but green stripe across upper mantle; no pink edging on tail feathers. A.a. versicolor: different from sulaensis by having a uniformly blue mantle; smaller in size than amboinensis. A.a. buruensis: as in sulaensis but more tail feathers edged with pink. Bill grey/black in both sexes. A.a. hypophonius: as in amboinensis but wings and wing coverts deep blue; pink on tail feathers absent. A.a. dorsalis: as in amboinensis but pink on tail feathers absent; slightly darker red on head and underparts.

Listen to the sound of Moluccan King Parrot

[audio: King Parrot.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Andrew Spencer

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 35 cm size max.: 37 cm
incubation min.: 19 days incubation max.: 20 days
fledging min.: 60 days fledging max.: 65 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Australasia : Moluccas, West New Guinea


Found usually in pairs or small groups; is shy. Remains in thick foliage. When approached will fly to cover calling loudly. Occurs from lowlands to around 2100m (6888 ft). Found in dense humid primary and secondary forest, and sometimes in nearby plantations, farmlands and gardens.


Nests in holes and cavities; in captivity clutch 2 eggs, incubation about 20 days and fledging period about 9 weeks.

Feeding habits

Feeds on Lithocarpus acorns, as well as the hard fruits, buds and berries of other trees.

Video Moluccan King Parrot


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Moluccan King Parrot status Least Concern


Probably resident

Distribution map

Moluccan King Parrot distribution range map

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