Paradise 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: Psephotus pulcherrimus
Conservation status in NSW: Presumed Extinct
Commonwealth status: Extinct
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2017


The extinct Paradise Parrot (Psephotus pulcherrimus) was a small (length 27-30 cm) and rather distinctive parrot with red scapulars and a long tail.

The male had a bright red forehead and a black crown; a yellowish eye-ring; and emerald-green ear-coverts and throat. The black nape merged into dark brown on the hindneck, and then into paler, earthy brown on the mantle and back. The scapulars were bright red; the rump was turquoise; and the uppertail was bronze-green and blue, merging into bluish-black. The underbody comprised an emerald-green breast and upper abdomen, merging into turquoise on the sides of the neck and the lower abdomen; the belly, vent and flanks were bright red; and the undertail was bluish-white. The upperwing was earthy brown, concolorous with the mantle and back; and the underwing was deep blue.

The female was less colourful, differing from the male by having a yellowish forehead and face; duller blackish-brown crown; buff-yellow throat and breast with brownish-orange suffusion; pale blue belly, vent and undertail coverts with red on the fringes of some feathers. In both sexes the bill was greyish; the eyes brown; and the legs and feet were greyish-brown. Juveniles resembled females.

Paradise Parrots lived in pairs or small family groups, making their nests in hollowed-out termite mounds and similar places, often at or near ground level, and feeding almost exclusively on grass seeds.


The Paradise Parrot was native to the grassy woodlands of the Queensland - New South Wales border area of Australia. Once moderately common within its fairly restricted range, the last documented record of the Paradise Parrot was in 1927. Extensive searches in the years following have failed to produce any reliable evidence, and the species is presumed to be extinct.

The population of Paradise Parrots declined rapidly in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Though many Paradise Parrots were taken into captivity in the 19th century, there are no current captive populations of this species and none have been reintroduced into the wild. There was a proposal to begin captive breeding of the species for release in the 1920s, but action occurred too late to save the species.

Habitat and ecology

  • The Paradise Parrot mainly inhabited undulating river valleys which were lightly timbered with eucalypt woodlands, or open forests often dominated by ironbarks and bloodwoods, with an understorey of annual and perennial native grasses; these areas were often dotted with termite mounds.
  • There is little information on the diet of the Paradise Parrot, however it was known to feed on the seeds of native grasses.
  • Details of the home ranges or territories of the Paradise Parrot are unknown, although adults are thought to have remained in the same nesting locations for many years.
  • Little is known of the sexual maturity or life expectancy of this species. Breeding was recorded between September and March. Clutches of between three and five white eggs, with a pinkish tinge, were laid in a nest-chamber at the end of a tunnel excavated into a termite mounds.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region