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12

Australian Ringneck

(Barnardius zonarius)
Alternative names: Race barnardi - "Mallee Ringneck", "Mallee Parrot", "Barnard's Parakeet"; Race zonarius - "Port Lincoln Parrot"
Aboriginal names: Race barnardi - "bulla-bulla", "bulun bulun" [gamilaraay, yuwaalaraay]; Race zonarius - "ulbaja"

Size: 34-38 cm
Weight: 200-230 g

Similar species

SUBSECTIONS:     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian Ringneck at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

(for details refer to a field guide)

Click here to display information on habitat, range and finding this species

Sightings

The only species of Australian Ringnecks found in northern NSW is race "barnardi", the "Mallee Ringneck" parrot. Although, according to field guides, located right on the edge of their habitat, Australian Ringnecks are permanent residents in the Narrabri area.

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Photos

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Race "zonarius"

Note that, despite their red frontal bands, the birds shown below are not race "semitorquatus" (whose underparts are all green). The red frontal band is part of the mix with race "barnardi".

Australian Ringneck "zonarius" portrait
[Near Flinders Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

Australian Ringnecks drinking water from a leaking tank; the bird on the right does not have a red frontal band, indicating a strong heritage from the "zonarius" side of the family, whereas the bird on the left has colours more typical of race "barnardi", as shown below
[Near Flinders Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

Lateral view of an immature Australian Ringneck
[Near Flinders Ranges NP, SA, March 2008]

Race "barnardi"

Frontal view of a male Mallee Ringneck parrot
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Frontal view of two male Mallee Ringneck parrots on a power line - left: , right:
[20 km south of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Lateral view of a male Mallee Ringneck parrot drinking from a water bowl
[20 km south of Narrabri, NSW, May 2006]

Portrait of a female Mallee Ringneck parrot
[20 km south of Narrabri, NSW, August 2006]

Lateral view of a female Mallee Ringneck parrot
[20 km south of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Dorsal view of a female Mallee Ringneck parrot feeding on seeds from the ground
[20 km south of Narrabri, NSW, August 2006]

Oops, I think there's something seriously wrong here!
[20 km south of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Oi mate, I think I'm Jesus - I can walk on water!
[20 km south of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Race "barnardi"/"zonarius"

The bird shown below was found by us on the side of a road, about 10 km East of Burren Junction, NSW, in November 2013. Its plumage suggests a mixed heritage of races "zonarius" (e.g. the dark mantle and the yellow belly) and "barnardi" (the red stripe and the light-green breast and cap). Its location (1000 km East of the range of race "zonarius") and behaviour (being easily approachable) suggest that this bird is an aviary escape.

Near-frontal view of an hybrid Australian Ringneck parrot
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral view of an hybrid Australian Ringneck parrot
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Dorsal view of an hybrid Australian Ringneck parrot
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Frontal view of an hybrid Australian Ringneck parrot feeding on the seeds of grasses and weeds by a roadside
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Near-frontal view of an hybrid Australian Ringneck parrot feeding on the seeds of grasses and weeds by a roadside
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral view of an hybrid Australian Ringneck parrot feeding on the seeds of grasses and weeds by a roadside
[Near Burren Junction, NSW, November 2013]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Pair

Mallee Ringneck parrots often come in flocks of about 10 birds. They like grass seeds, White Cedar fruit and, even more, young shoots of trees and bushes, such as cottonwood and bottlebrush. During their breeding season they make themselves scarce. Around January they reappear to pick off seeds from trees and grassplants. The fact that they also like the noxious Spiny Burrgrass seeds makes them our best friends.

As part of the preparations for breeding, female Australian Ringnecks will expect to be fed by their partners, because the females take on the incubation duties. This is shown in the photos below.

Pair of Mallee Ringnecks on our lawn; the male is seen at the back; the female is darker and more inconspicuously coloured
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

After regurgitating pre-digested seeds, he feeds her
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Like many parrots, Australian Ringnecks are primarily seed-eaters; they feed mostly on grass seeds, but the seeds can also be as large as the fruit of White Cedar trees. Their diet includes the seeds of the noxious weed "Spiny burrgrass" (see photo below).

Mallee Ringneck parrot picking off the seeds of the noxious weed "Spiny Burrgrass"
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Lateral portrait of a male Mallee Ringneck parrot feasting on juniper fruit
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Mallee Ringneck enjoying the fruit of an introduced juniper in an urban garden (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Moree, NSW, November 2013]

This Mallee Ringneck parrot is after the fruit of the noxious "African boxthorn" weed (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)

Here a pair Mallee Ringneck parrots nibbling on a succulent plant
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Call/s

For this species we have recorded the following call/s. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

mallee_20140424.mp3 Contact call M. Dahlem

These pages are largely based on our own observations. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.