Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blue-winged parrots, Cape Woolamai

According to the field guides this bird is considered "common" in southern Victoria. (Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands are also its strongholds.) This was just the second occasion I have identified Blue-winged parrot and I enjoyed the event immensely!

Blue-winged parrot Neophema chrysostoma 22 June 2013, Cape Woolamai
I had ventured to Cape Woolamai on a spectacular, sunny and still winter morning. One of the first species I came across was this flock of 21 small parrots feeding and circling intermittently to make minor changes in position.

Great location! Looking back from Cape Woolamai towards Woolamai Surf Beach and further along the southern coast of Phillip Island, Victoria. See the location geotag for a map of this amazing place.
20 of the 21! Blue-winged parrot

Blue-winged parrots demonstrate similarities in appearance and behaviour with their near-extinct cousins the Orange-bellied parrots. They both breed in Tasmania and have groups that migrate to the mainland. Blue-winged parrots are most likely to be seen on the mainland from April to September. What is less clear is whether the Victorian birds are also migratory and move with the Tasmanian birds or whether they are more sedentary - the Tasmanian birds leap-frogging them so to speak.

I gather that the parrots are seen in various habitats. They nest in tree hollows of forested areas, feed on grasses in the mornings and may be seen roosting during the day on fences and the like.

I find it fascinating to make birding observations and have these experiences fit with the information later read in field guides. My first sighting of Blue-winged parrot was of a single bird perched on a dead tree branch in October 2012. This was at the forested bushland reserve called Oswin Roberts Sanctuary also on Phillip Island.

Now I am curious to know whether this was close to a nesting hollow. Where do these Cape Woolamai birds fit in - have they flown across Bass Strait or are they permanent locals?

It all fosters the desire to keep getting out there and having another look!

Blue-winged parrot, Oswin Roberts Reserve Phillip Island, 14 October 2012
Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird on!


  1. A great sighting and photographic documentation of these sweet little parrots. It does egg one on to go down there with open eyes, hope youcan do a bit more research on them.

  2. Very pretty parrots! Great sighting and your photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing your wild bird.

  3. Great photos and beautiful little parrots. Wish I could see them - but it's a long way down to Vic. from QLD.

  4. Great lookers!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  5. Awesome birds! Terrific light in your photos, shows these birds off well!

  6. HI This is a lovely little parrot and the series of shots are great. Maargaret

  7. Well done Pete, yes, keep getting out there and looking, love the stories as much as the photos. Cheers, Richard

  8. surely that paltry number of 63 species for 2013 isn't correct!