Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster)

Orange-bellied Parrot

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Neophema chrysogaster | [authority] Latham, 1790 | [UK] Orange-bellied Parrot | [FR] Perruche a ventre orange | [DE] Goldbauch-Sittich | [ES] Periquito Ventrinaranja | [NL] Oranjebuikparkiet | [copyright picture] Birdlife


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Neophema chrysogaster AU s Australia


The genus Neophema is an Australian genus of broad-tailed parrots with six or seven species. They are small parakeets with a more or less dull green basic color with some contrasting colorful patches, and are commonly known as grass parrots. The genus has some sexual dichromatism, males having more and brighter color patches.

Physical charateristics

Slim parrot, grass-green above, and yellowish below. Adult male has prominent, two-tone blue frontal band, green-blue uppertail with yellow sides, conspicuous in flight, orange patch on belly. Adult female similar but slightly duller, orange patch slightly smaller, tail greener. Juvenile similar to adult female, best distinguished at fledging by dull yellow-orange bill and cere. Distinguished from Blue-winged Parrot N. chrysostoma and Elegant Parrot N. elegans by darker grass-green upperparts and narrow dark-blue leading edge to folded wing.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 21 cm
incubation min.: 20 days incubation max.: 22 days
fledging min.: 33 days fledging max.: 37 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 6  


Australasia : South Australia. This species is thought to breed only at Melaleuca and (formerly) Birch’s Inlet in south-western Tasmania, Australia


It breeds in a mosaic of eucalypt forest and rainforest bordering extensive moorland plains. It nests in hollows, feeding on the ground on grass and sedge seed from surrounding moorlands. After breeding it disperses to saltmarshes, dunes, beaches, pastures and shrublands close to the coast. It overwinters in mainland Australia and migrates to Tasmania to breed


It nests high in hollows in eucalypt trees that grow adjacent to its feeding plains. In early October the birds arrive in the south west and depart after the breeding season usually in March and April. Four to six eggs are laid which are incubated for about 3 weeks. Nestlings fledge after another 5 weeks.

Feeding habits

It feeds on the seeds of several sedges and heath plants, including buttongrass. Its main food preferences are found in sedgelands which have not been burned for between 3-15 years. Also included in the diet are seeds of three Boronia species and the everlasting daisy, Helichrysum pumilum.

Video Orange-bellied Parrot


copyright: birdinggreynomads


This species has a very small population and, although numbers are stable or increasing at one intensively-managed breeding site, numbers continue to decline at outlying sites and it is assumed to be declining overall. It is therefore classified as Critically Endangered.
The primary reason for the species’s decline is thought to be fragmentation and degradation of overwintering habitat by grazing, agriculture and urban and industrial development. Competition with introduced seed-eating finches may have affected winter food availability, while some former breeding habitat may have been vacated because of a change in the fire regime and competition with introduced Common Starlings Sturnus vulgaris, which fill nest-hollows with nesting material, rendering them unsuitable. Deaths from random events, such as sea storms during migration, predation by foxes and cats, or disease, are significant threats to such a tiny population. Degradation of remaining saltmarsh habitat on the mainland is a significant threat. A proposed application for a mining exploration licence in Melaleuca could prove highly damaging to the species’s breeding grounds. In 2005-2006, 40 young birds bred in captivity died of unknown causes, but a viral disease is suspected. This population was quarantined to avoid releasing a threatening disease into the wild populatio
Orange-bellied Parrot status Critically Endangered


Birds migrate to the mainland after breeding, stopping over on King Island, and overwintering at sites scattered from south-eastern South Australia east to south-eastern New South Wales

Distribution map

Orange-bellied Parrot distribution range map

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