A puzzling parrot
We have a small flock of about 6 Mallee Ringnecks resident in our garden. We see them every day and they have breed successfully nearby. The Mallee Ringneck is a race of the Australian Ringneck and is found in areas which contain predominantly mallee tree habitat. Our 5 acre block is half covered in mallee trees, so they probably feel quite at home.
In recent weeks I’ve been aware that one of them has some interesting colour variations. In the photo above, the bird on the left has a much darker head than normal, plus more yellow on the chest and blue cheek feathers rather than green. Throughout the broad range of the Australian Ringneck there is considerable colour variation.
The Western Ringneck (also called the Port Lincoln Parrot) has a particularly dark head – it’s black in fact. Port Lincoln Parrots have been recorded in the Adelaide metropolitan region, but it is suspected that they were aviary escapes or releases. I’m not claiming that this bird is of the race, Port Lincoln Parrot, but I suspect it may have escaped from someone’s cage as they are a common aviary bird. Another possibility is that it is the progeny of cross breeding between a Mallee and a Port Lincoln Parrot, thus accounting for the washed out grey head rather than a black one. Both races interbreed readily in the Flinders Ranges where their ranges overlap.
The photo below shows a close up view of the same bird. The third photo shows the normal colours of the Mallee Ringneck.
I’d be very interested in reader’s comments.