AppearanceThe Golden-shouldered Parrot is 23–28 cm long. The adult male is mainly blue and has a characteristic yellow over the shoulder area. It has a black cap and pale yellow frontal band. It has a pinkish lower belly, thighs and undertail-coverts. It has a Grey-brown lower back. Adult female are mainly dull greenish-yellow, and have a broad cream bar on the underside of the wings. Juveniles are similar to the adult female.
StatusThe Golden-shouldered Parrot is listed as endangered . The species has a restricted range and suffers from a variety of threats, including predation by feral cats, tourist disturbance, feral pigs, and a change in burning regime in the grasslands upon whose seeds it depends. The wild population is around 3000 birds, with around 1500 kept in captivity in Australia. Sites identified by BirdLife International as being important for Golden-shouldered Parrot conservation are Morehead River and Staaten River.
HabitatThe Golden-shouldered Parrot lives in open forest, where it feeds on small grass seeds, principally those of firegrass. An important habitat requirement is the provision of terrestrial termite mounds, which the bird uses for nesting in. This has led to the parrot also being known as the Antbed Parrot.
ReproductionThe Golden-shouldered Parrot will build a nest in the taller termite mounds , and will dig a burrow into them when the mound has been softened by the rains. A long tunnel is dug down into the mound, and capped off by a nesting chamber. The clutch size is between 3–6 eggs, which are incubated for 20 days. The mound regulates the temperature of the nest in the chamber, so that the eggs can be left unattended while the parents feed.
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