Nature conservation

Threatened species

Scarlet-chested Parrot - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Neophema splendida
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 02 Apr 2020


The Scarlet-chested Parrot is a small (19-21cm), brightly coloured parrot. The male has a scarlet chest, both sexes have a cobalt blue head and deep yellow underbody. Wing coverts are pale blue. Despite their colourfulness this species is often overlooked in their natural habitat. Calls are soft, they feed on the ground and they fly low keeping close to cover.


Thinly distributed across the arid interior of southern Australia from far western NSW to the vicinity of Kalgoorlie (WA), extending as far north as southern Northern Territory. Sometimes locally common and subject to local irruptions. Rarely recorded in NSW, with historical records from Menindee Lakes (1849), the 'Darling River' (1863), Bourke (1892) and near Broken Hill (1952). More recently, this species has been recorded occasionally in Danggali Conservation Park (SA) and in the adjoining Scotia Mallee (Tarawi NR, Scotia Sanctuary) in NSW.

Habitat and ecology

  • Inhabits semi-arid areas with mallee and mulga scrublands/open woodlands with spinifex and saltbush ground covers. Occurs in both recently burnt and older growth mallee.
  • Usually nests close to the ground (but may be as high as 8 m) within small mallee eucalypt or Mulga trees, the eggs being laid onto decayed debris and leaves within vertical spouts or other hollows. Several pairs of these parrots may nest within neighbouring trees.
  • Forages on or near the ground for seeds of grasses, including spinifex, herbs and acacias.
  • Frequently found far from water, thus thought to be able to obtain sufficient moisture by drinking dew or chewing water-storing plants, but will drink at dams and troughs if available.
  • Usually occurs in small groups of up to 20 birds, but occasionally recorded in larger flocks. Movements are poorly known, though may be in response to rainfall and availability of food. Influxes of birds in the past may have been caused by increased breeding due to favourable conditions.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Predicted None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Outwash Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
Other StateSA Known None