The Australian King Parrot Alisterus scapularis are endemic to eastern Australia. They are found in humid and heavily forested upland regions of the eastern portion of the continent, including eucalyptus wooded areas in and directly adjacent to subtropical and temperate rainforest
The adult males (4 years) are very striking in appearance with a red head, breast, and lower undersides, with a blue lower back, and green wings and tail. They have a reddish-orange upper beak with a black tip and a black lower beak, and yellow eye ring. Unpaired, younger males can been seen in medium sized groups. Females are similar in appearance except for a green head and breast, a black upper beak, and paler yellow eye ring. Juveniles of both sexes resemble the females. Adults of both sexes are very majestic birds, typically 42 c m (16 inches) in length including a long tail.
There is one subspecies, A.s. minor, which is found at the northern limit of its range, and is typically about 5 cm (2 inches) shorter than the nominate species but otherwise is similar in appearance. They will feed on fruits, seeds or small insects.
Distribution and Habitat
They range from North and Central Queensland to Southern Victoria. They are frequently seen in small groups with various species of Rosella. Further from their normal eastern upland habitat, they are also found in Canberra (Australia’s national capital) during winter, outer western suburbs of Sydney, and the Carnarvon Gorge in Central Queensland.
In their native Australia, they are occasionally bred in aviaries and kept as calm and relatively quiet household pets if hand-raised, but are relatively unknown outside Australia. As pets, they have limited “talking” ability and normally prefer not to be handled, but do bond readily to people and can be very devoted. Life expectancy in the wild is unknown, but some pets have been known to live up to 25 years. However, some King Parrots are known to develop lung diseases as a result of living indoors.