Australian Ringneck

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Image:Ausringneck.JPG

Common Name: Australian Ringneck
Scientific Name: Barnardius zonarius

Size: 11 inches (33 cm)

Habitat: Australia; found throughout Australia with the exception of extreme tropical and highland areas. Found mostly in eucalypt woodlands and eucalypt-lined watercourses.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: Unknown.

Diet: Nectar, insects, seeds, fruit, and native and introduced bulbs. It will eat orchard-grown fruit and is sometimes seen as a pest by farmers

Nesting: Breeding season for the Northern populations starts in June or July, while the central and southern populations breed from August to February, but this can be delayed when climatic conditions are unfavorable. The nesting site is a hollow in a tree trunk. Generally four or five white oval eggs are laid measuring 29 mm x 23 mm, although a clutch may be as few as three and as many as six. Fledgling survival rates have been measured at 75%

Cool Facts: Traditionally, two species were recognized in the genus Barnardius, the Port Lincoln Parrot (Barnardius zonarius) and the Mallee Ringneck (Barnardius barnardi), but the two species readily interbred at the contact zone and are now considered one species. Currently, four subspecies are recognized, each with a distinct range.

The subspecies of the Australian Ringneck differ considerably in coloration. It is a medium size species around 33 cm (11 in) long. The basic color is green, and all four subspecies have the characteristic yellow ring around the hindneck; wings and tail are a mixture of green and blue.

The B. z. zonarius and B. z. semitorquatus subspecies have a dull black head; back, rump and wings are brilliant green; throat and breast bluish-green. The difference between these two subspecies is that B. z. zonarius has a yellow abdomen while B. z. semitorquatus has a green abdomen; the latter has also a prominent crimson frontal band that the former lacks (the intermediate shown in the box has characteristics of both subspecies). The two other subspecies differ from these subspecies by the bright green crown and nape and blush cheek-patches. The underparts of B. z. barnardi are turquoise-green with an irregular orange-yellow band across the abdomen; the back and mantle are deep blackish-blue and this subspecies has a prominent red frontal band. The B. z. macgillivrayi is generally pale green, with no red frontal band, and a wide uniform pale yellow band across the abdomen.

The calls of the Mallee Ringneck and Cloncurry Parrot have been described as "ringing", and the calls of the Port Lincoln Ringneck and Twenty-eight have been described as "strident". The name of the Twenty-eight Parrot is an onomatopoeic derived from its distinctive 'twentee-eight' call.

The Australian Ringneck is active during the day and can be found in eucalypt woodlands and eucalypt-lined watercourses. The species is gregarious and depending on the conditions can be resident or nomadic.


Found in Songbird ReMix Australia Volume I

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