If you want an aviculture subject that is quiet and undemanding then you can’t go pas the Scarlet-chested Parrot (Neophem splendida) a member of the Neohem Grass Parrot Genus. A native at Australia the Scarlet-chested Parrot is on of our most widely kept and bred bird species and for good reason. With their peaceful nature and ability to keep with finches, doves and quail in a planted aviary the Scrlet-chested Parrot is on of the best choices of bird for the beginner. Cock birds are mesmerising with their scarlet chest and vibrant blue head which also adds to the reasons as to why this bird is such a popular avicultural subject. The Scarlet-chested Parrot really is a species that is pleasing to the eye and is an endearing bird which I hope to introduce to you in this article,
SIZE & DESCRIPTION
The Scarlet-chested Parrot is a small bird which measures approximately 20 cm in length. The cock displays a beautiful bright blue head with green stretching from the nape to tail. The wings are also shaded blue in parts with flight feathers being a dark blue and under parts yellow. The ken is duller version of the cock which lacks the scarlet chest after which these birds were named. Immatures are again duller versions of the hen.
A SOFT SPECIES
It is often said that the Scarlet-chested Parrot is a weak bird and a heart breaker although I have found it to be quite the opposite. Sure you should keep them out of heavy rains or damp conditions but this should be done with any species. Humidity may be a problem with some breeders however where I live in Queensland it can get extremely humid and I have had no problems. I believe that by breeding bigger stronger birds to bigger stronger birds over time you produce birds less susceptible to such problems. I do believe however that draughts can pose a problems for those keeping Scarlet-chested Parrots. I do not believe that after so many years of domestication this bird warrants the heart breaker image some apply to them. I have found that Scarlet-chested Parrots thus to be hardy species when kept under the right conditions.
I have kept most of my pair of Scarlet-chested Parrots in conventional aviaries. The conventional aviaries have a concrete floor which is covered with washed river sand and is constantly cleaned. I have also kept my Scarlet-chest Parrots in suspended aviaries. As mentioned before the conventional aviary gives the birds the freedom to fly to the ground to pick up fallen seed and sun themselves if the wish. Suspended aviaries however restrict the birds from flying to the ground and are more hygienic lessening the chance of the birds getting worms and other parasites. As Scarlet-chested Parrots are susceptible to draughts you should think this when you’re designing you aviaries.
My conventional aviaries that I use to house my Scarlet-chested Parrots in measure 5 foot long x 3 foot wide x 6 foot high. My suspended aviaries used to house Scarlet-chested Parrots in measure 1.5mtrs long x 90 cm’s wide x 1 mtr high and these are elevated 1 meter off the ground Backing onto my back of suspended aviaries is a safety porch. I use natural unsprayed Paperbark or Eucalypt branches of varying widths as my perches. When young are about to fledge I place branches at the end of the aviary. I find if I do not do this the young can be susceptible to flying into the wire at a fast speed resulting in death.
At one stage I housed a pair of my Scarlet-chested Parrots in a friends planted aviary. The aviary measured ten meters long x ten meters wide x 4 meters high. It was in this aviary that Diamond Doves, a variety of native Finches, native Quail and Bush Budgerigars as well as a few softbills were also kept. Neither my friend nor I observed any problems when it came to the breeding season however it was a pain keeping some of the finches out of the Scarlet-chested Parrots’ nest. The Scarlets became a little aggressive to the other birds at times and eventually raised two young in a nest box which was located two meter up a log in the aviary. The young fledged and were removed two weeks later. Scarlet-chested Parrots make the ideal addition to a plated aviary tending to leave the plants alone and being none aggressive. I would not house any other Neophema Grass Parrot with them for fear of Hybridisation.
HABITS & REQUIREMENTS
Scarlet-cheste Parrots are quiet birds with a beautiful call and an ability to charm anyone that comes near the aviary. I find even non birdo’s make comments about the beauty of the Scarlet-chested Parrot. Scarlet-chested Parrots as mentioned earlier may be susceptible to draught and for this reason should be kept in a position where they will not be exposed to them. Wet and/or dam aviaries are also a bad place to keep Scarlet-chested Parrots as they are to keep many other species of birds.
Whether my Scarlet-chested Parrots are housed in conventional or suspended aviaries they all receive millet sprays and chickweed which I found to be relished by the birds.
Scarlet-chested Parrots housed in conventional aviaries enjoy scratching around and eating fallen seed off the floor of the aviary. They seem to relish this, however worming these birds three times a year is a must. I often cut off branches and place them in the aviary for the birds to sit in during the day.