Mulga Parrots

The Mulga Parrot is a spectacular endemic Australian grass parakeet that is a highly regarded aviary bird because of its beautiful plumage and its determination to breed. Although reportedly rather bold in the wild, they may have a tendency to be nervous and aggressive in captivity, except in a large flight, so they are rarely held as single pets.

The Mulga Parrot is one of two closely related endemic Australian species of Psephotus grass parakeets. In general, the Mulga is the more western bird, while the Red-rumped is found more to the east. The Mulga uses a dry, scrubby grassland habitat.

Appearance:
The adult male Mulga Parrot is a multi-coloured bird sometimes described as “green,” which utterly fails to capture the way this striking bird may look green in some lights and turquoise in others. With his yellow forehead, dab of a scarlet crown, yellow shoulder-patch, and orangey-red lower belly, this flashy bird is  the jewel of the aviary. The female is duller overall but, not to be completely overlooked, she has a bright red shoulder-patch. It is easily distinguished from the equally colorful Red-rumped Parakeet, P. haematonotus, because the Mulga has a greenish rump, while the male Red-rumped has, as you might guess, a red rump.

Weight: 
50 - 70 grams (1.7 - 2.5 oz.)

Average size: 
28 centimeters (11 in.)

Lifespan:
12 years

Behaviour / temperament

With breeding pairs, be respectful of the Mulga Parrot's somewhat aggressive yet reserved nature, and provide housing that allows your pets to feel safe. If you have a female that is constantly over-producing eggs, consult with a vet or another breeder to put a stop to the behaviour  You may be able to save some of the excess eggs or babies by placing them with foster parrots. However, if she keeps over-producing, her life is likely to be short, so consider such tactics as removing the nest box.

Housing:
It would be relatively rare to own a single pet Mulga Parrot, but in the event that you do, be aware of the bird's need for exercise to fight obesity, boredom, and aggression. The powder-coated metal cage should be a large one, perhaps a minimum of 24”w by 18”d by 24” h, and you should also have a play gym with chew items and assorted toys. You want to interact with your pet every day to keep it socialized, so make it practical for the two of you to be together.

Breeding birds should be kept in pairs, in a large aviary, probably large enough to walk into. They are too nervous and flighty for small flights, and they are too territorial toward other birds or pets to share, so you should plan for a large aviary for each pair of Mulga Parrots. They love to bathe, both in clean sand and in water, so provide them with the proper shallow “puddles” of sand and dirt to allow them to do so. It's a worth a little trouble to keep those gorgeous feathers gleaming. When setting up the aviary, bear in mind that this sun-loving species doesn't tolerate being cold and damp.

Diet:
Like most Australian grass parakeets, the Mulga Parrot isn't terribly difficult to feed right, but the birds do tend to become obese if you don't watch out. The core of the diet is usually a high quality small seed mix. High fat seeds like sunflower should be restricted or not given at all if the birds are overweight. You should also supply a chopped salad heavy on seasonal fruits and vegetables, with plenty of chopped greens supplied. Some breeders stir in wheat germ oil. Soaked, sprouted, or milkyseeding grasses should be offered regularly. You can offer a high quality pellet, but if the birds will not eat it, you may have to instead prepare a high quality multi-grain or cockatiel “birdie” bread. Mulga Parrot females sometimes lay over-sized clutches, straining their bodies. You may want to ask your vet or breeder about whether to offer calcium or other supplements, but bear in mind that calcium may not easily be absorbed without access to either natural sunlight, full spectrum lighting, or vitamin D3. You should provide richer food in the breeding season, perhaps eggfood, special bird breeder's mix, or even live food.

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