As formerly a mother of five children, Bronwen has experienced and enjoyed a number of pets.
Why Is This Parrot a "Princess"?
The Princess Parrot is an Australian parrot with the scientific name of Polytelis alexandrae. That is because it was named in honour of Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1844–1925). Princess Alexandra married Edward, Prince of Wales, and when he became King Edward VII of Great Britain on 22nd January, 1901, she became Queen.
This lovely bird is known by a variety of names, including the following:
- Alexandra's Parrot
- Princess of Wales Parakeet
- Princess Alexandra's Parrot
- Queen Alexandra Parakeet
- Rose-Throated Parakeet
- Spinifex Parrot
Of course, there are both male and female Princess Parrots, but they are all called princesses!
Where They Live in the Wild
I have seen these parrots in the wild in the inland desert areas of South Australia, but I believe they are also found in Western Australia in both desert and mountain areas. They are nomadic and fly together in groups and can often be found—and heard—near waterholes and other sources of water.
They Make Gentle (But Noisy) Pets
One of the first things noticeable about these parrots at a distance is their piercing calls. They make good, gentle pets and even seem to be affectionate, but their call can be deafening when they are indoors and decide they require attention.
The Princess Parrot is a medium-sized type of parrot, and so it is often referred to as a parakeet. The older spelling for parakeet is paroquet. Other Australian parakeets include the ever popular budgerigar.
As Princess Parrots have been bred in captivity for over a century, several variations, especially in the colouring of their plumage, have evolved or been bred into them. There are also variations in the wild, but they are not so pronounced.
- Length: The male grows to about 46 cm (16 inches) long; the female is a little shorter.
- Weight: These birds are surprisingly light as the biggest males only weigh about 120 g (4 1/4 ounces)!
- Plumage: In the wild, this bird's plumage is usually mostly green with a pink throat, bluish crown, bright green shoulders and a pretty blue rump, although there are blue and yellow mutations, too. The tail is quite long and thin. It is a little shorter in the female. She is not as brightly coloured as the male, and her crown is a pale grey.
- Beak and Eyes: As you can see in the top and bottom photographs, the male's beak is a coral red and his eyes have orange irises; the female's beak is paler and her irises are brown.
- Food: In the wild, they are nomadic and feed mainly on spinifex and other seeds. They will fly in a flock and appear suddenly in an area, feed there for a while, and then just as suddenly disappear.
How to Care for Your Pet
Princess Parrots make wonderful pets. The following are a few notes about keeping these birds as companions.
Princess Parrots adapt well to living in an indoor cage and being allowed to fly free inside a home. They also enjoy the larger space of an outdoor aviary. Because of their long tails, they need plenty of space when they perch.
In captivity, they enjoy eating parrot mix and love vegetables (such as corn), sprouted seeds and a variety of fruit (such as apples and pears). In the breeding season, they enjoy some insect treats like mealworms, and these provide extra nutrition for both the chicks and their parents.
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As their beaks continue grow, Princess Parrots need to be provided with small, hard twigs and branches to chew on. Do make sure that these are non-toxic.
As pets, they are delightful in their behavior and have real personalities of their own, even showing likes and dislikes for different members of the family or visitors.
They can learn to mimic the human voice quite clearly if they are taught to speak from a young age, although this may take patience.
They reach maturity at about a year old and live surprisingly long; some have been known to live around 15 to 30 years.
Like most other parrots, in the wild they nest in a hollow tree, preferring gumtrees (eucalypts) and wattles. Like many inland birds, in the wild, they mostly breed when it has rained and there is sufficient food available for the chicks. However, they breed well in captivity, especially if they are provided with a hollow log, but room needs to be provided for the long tail. They will come back to the same log to breed again, year after year, so it needs to be cleaned of mites and disease each year after use.
They prefer to breed in groups, as they would in the wild, and they lay from four to six small white eggs. The babies hatch out in about nineteen days.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: Are Princess Parrots particularly loud or vocal compared to a, lets say a cockatiel?
Answer: Yes, they are certainly full of the joie de vivre, and let everyone know!
Question: Can a Princess Parrot get along well with a five-year-old child?
Answer: It depends on the five-year-old. He or she would need to be quiet and gentle and to approach the bird slowly, but I imagine some five-year-olds can be quite good at this. It's more a matter of the child getting along well with the bird.
Question: What is the Princess Parrot's kingdom, class, order, genus, species, phylum and family?
Answer: Family Psittacidae (there are about 326 species in the world; 41 of these are found in Australia); Polytelis alexandrae ( this parrot's full common name is Princess Alexandra's Parrot); it is uncommon in the wild; its habit is nomadic; it is an endemic race, recorded only in Australia. You can find more, with illustrations in Simpson & Day's 'Field Guide to the Birds of Australia: the most comprehensive one-volume book of identification', obtainable from www.penguin.com.au
Question: My 9-week old princess parrot bites when I cuff him, how do I stop him?
Answer: What do you mean by 'cuff'? is it something you put on him, or do you actually hit him? Either way, it is not a good idea. We need to treat our pets with gentleness and be kind to them. They're sizeable birds and need space to fly free in a safe room each day for exercise.
Question: What does the princess parrot like?
Answer: If you mean in the way of food, I have answered this previously. Otherwise, they love to have company, they like to be talked to, and if you sing or whistle to you princess parrot, you will find he will respond, often by dancing along his perch. They also like freedom, so if he is in a large aviary, he will be happy. If his cage is not big, make sure all the doors and windows are closed so he can't escape, and then set free to fly around the room. You can train him to come back to sit on your shoulder, where he will probably nibble your hair.
Question: If they are hand raised from the very start of their life, will they most likely be cuddly?
Answer: Newly hatched chicks can be very delicate, so I'd be very cautious about handling them too young, but it would be good to begin while they are still juveniles.
Question: Is it possible to borrow a mate for my female POW?
Answer: That sounds like a great idea, but the one I write about belongs to a granddaughter in another State, I'm so sorry. I hope you have success in your quest.
Question: Can princess parrots fly?
Answer: Yes. they certainly can! They love the freedom of being able to fly around a room, but do be sure that all windows and doors are closed before you try this one or you may lose your pet.
Question: What do you do to gain a Princess Parrot's trust?
Answer: To be gentle with your Princess and handle often would probably help, but they are usually very sociable creatures.
© 2013 Bronwen Scott-Branagan
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on June 09, 2020:
Werner Brecko: Your Princess must love having the freedom of the aviary. Do you mean that you have made a nest box and lined it with fleece? I'd be wary of using fleece: while it is warm it could also become a home for lice, and that would be a problem for him. For a female companion, if you are hoping that they will mate and produce offspring, it could be best if she is young, as he is not very old yet, either. I shouldn't imagine it would matter whether she is tame or not, as it's not so difficult to tame a young bird. Good luck! I hope your venture goes well and that they become good companions.
Werner Brecko on June 09, 2020:
My princess parrot is in a larger outdoor Avery apron 2.5 mt high and 1.5 wide, very happy and energetic quite time and hand fed, love to watch magpies and small other birds through the cage in a large outdoor garden, about just one year old male and has just a small made house lined with fleece for warmth. Would you recommend a female for a companion and what age also as mine is quite tame should a companion be also tame. Please respond.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on May 22, 2020:
New Owner: That is lovely. I do hope that she settles well, you are trying so hard to help her enjoy her new environment. They are such beautiful birds - and native Australian, too.
New owner on May 19, 2020:
Thanks For your advice Bronwen, I will try this, I bet she will love it, there are toys here and here perch is natural I see they have been picking the bark off, but I will get her some twigs for when she is inside as well!
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on May 19, 2020:
New Owner: Kelly, it's lovely that you are so concerned about your newly acquired pet. I'm wondering if you have tried sprouting some of her seeds, she might like that. Does she have something she can bite on to keep her beak in good shape? Also, have you asked your mother if there are any treats that your Princess enjoyed when she had her? That might help. I do hope that she soon settles in well.
New owner on May 19, 2020:
Thanks for your response.
She likes to talk of a morning and sometimes throughout the day as well as the evening of course, telling me when she wants to head off to bed! My daughter and myself handle her as much as we can and she comes with me To hang out the washing, I just wanted to check, she does seem well but I shall keep an eye on her my mother was her previous owner and she was not handled much and left on her own a lot, hence she has moved in with me and I hope I can bring her out of her shell. I feel sad for her as my male lorikeet loves to come into the kitchen with me and climb all over me he talks a lot too, he is such a character and she seems to be the opposite right now, I guess the best option is to keep an eye on her and if things don’t change she might need a visit to the vet. She is mainly seed fed, is there anything else she would like, the lorikeet loves his fruit and seed as well. I’m a newbie so I’m just checking that is t the problem.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on May 18, 2020:
Kelly: That is unusual. Princess parrots are normally quite lively and very, very noisy. I'm glad she seems well. Have you had her for long? She may be missing her previous home. They usually love to be handled and will climb all over their owner and be quite affectionate, as you can see from the photos, and I could hear the call from several houses away. If she doesn't respond soon it might be good to contact the previous owner or a vet.
Kelly on May 17, 2020:
I have a female princess parrot, she is on her own, although I also have a male rainbow lorikeet, they share the same cage of a night but are inside during the day with plenty of room to move and food varieties to eat.
My question is that the princess parrot is very quiet, she likes to just sit near her food and be up disturbed, is this their usual behaviour? Should she be handled more, do they not like as much attention as rainbow lorikeets? I have been given both parrots they seems to be young as well.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on March 17, 2020:
Ursula: I'm so sorry I did not find your query until today. By now, you have probably taken your Charlie to the vet and know the answer. I hope he is quite well.
Zac: If the cage is big enough it should be all right, but they're probably better apart from the budgies when they are breeding.
bhattuc: Thank you for your encouraging comment.
bhattuc on March 17, 2020:
This is a beautiful article. Very informative.
zac on November 16, 2019:
will a pair of princess parrots breed in the same cage as 7pairs of budgies. they all have boxes. want to know if the budgies will disturb the princesses or vice versa.
Ursula on November 13, 2019:
I need help can you advise me if my Charlie is sick or depressed,he is eating but he has dull eye and it looks like he is getting cold.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on July 09, 2019:
Hello AJ, as most creatures like to get on best with their own species I think your choice of another cockatiel would be a good one. Also, you might find that a Princess Parrot, although they are so beautiful, would not be such a wise choice as they are certainly not quiet. Enjoy your love of these friendly birds.
AJ on July 09, 2019:
Hi, we have a cockatiel that recently lost it’s mate. Are there any parrots that are a slight bigger (5cm difference), inexpensive, quite, don’t require a license, and would get along with one or two cockatiels as we are planning to get another. We would like it to be Australian as our mum has experience with these parrots, and it can’t be a cockatoo as dad will boot it out, and it must love attention, socialising, cuddles and know how to entertain itself, also if it was protective, that would be good to as the neighbor has a cat. It musn’t bond to just one person either.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on January 31, 2019:
Gray: I'm so sorry, I must have missed your question before. As they live together in big groups in the wild, they very much prefer to have company. They should get on well with budgies and other small parrots like cockatiels. It's important to note that they do like space, and unless you can train yours to fly free in the house and go back into the cage, he really needs a good sized aviary.
Elsie on January 30, 2019:
Hi, how do i introduce the bird to its new hom?
Gray on October 13, 2018:
Hi, can these parrots live together with budgies and other small parrots
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on September 25, 2018:
Carla: Thank you for your query. My Granddaughter feeds him on small parrot seed mix (from Coles, if you're an Aussie). The vet warned her that sunflower seeds should be limited, as it's rather like chocolate for these birds. You may be able to find further advice on the internet or from a vet who specialises in birds.
Carla on September 22, 2018:
What do you feed them?
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on October 09, 2017:
Ethan.John: I think it depends on how much they have been handled as babies. If they had lots of friendly stroking, then they permit it when they are older. The handling needs to be every day and more than once a day, too, so they learn to trust their owners. Thank you for your comment.
Ethan. John on October 03, 2017:
I saw a lot of complaints about princess parrots not wanting to be stroked or touched by there owners and getting nippy when there owners touch them
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on August 10, 2017:
Shelley, I'm so sorry for taking such a time to respond. I've been away - nearly 4,000 km away, staying in Darwin. We saw some beautiful birds there in the wild. I'm afraid I don't know where you can find princess parrots, but I'm glad you enjoyed my article.
SHELLEY on July 25, 2017:
Where can I get these beautiful parrots?
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on October 28, 2016:
Norlawrence: Thank you!
Norma Lawrence from California on October 27, 2016:
Will let you know for sure.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on October 27, 2016:
norlawrence: I'd love to know about it if you find one.
Norma Lawrence from California on October 26, 2016:
A site that paid me as well as Bubblews.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on October 26, 2016:
norlawrence: Thank you for coming back again, the Princess Parrot is so pretty - even when he's really a prince! Perhaps you could rewrite your article and add it to HubPages, too. Did you mean you have not found another of these parrots, or that you haven't found a site that pays as well as Bubblews?
Norma Lawrence from California on October 25, 2016:
Great article about the Princess Parrot. I really enjoyed it. I wrote one a long time ago about this parrot and submitted to Bubblews when they were still here. It was not a very good site but I did make money on it. Have not found another one yet.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on September 12, 2016:
SakinaNasir53: Yes, they're lovely. I'm always delighted to see this one when I visit, the colours are pretty, but also fairly gentle. God bless you, too.
Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on September 07, 2016:
Wow! I m seeing this beautiful bird for the first time...I didn't even know they exist...thank you for sharing this information ...great job may God bless you ☺
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on August 23, 2016:
norlawrence: Thank you. They are such pretty birds.
Norma Lawrence from California on August 21, 2016:
Great article and the pictures were beautiful. Really enjoyed it. Thanks
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on March 17, 2016:
Peggy W: It is lovely, although it has a really loud call, which I'm sure the neighbours must hear. Yes, parakeets are different, but they're fun, too. Most parrots seem to have such interesting 'personalities.'
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2016:
What a gorgeous bird. My brothers used to have parakeets at one point when we were growing up but they were obviously not the Princess Parrot. Always fun learning about birds and other wildlife. Pinning to my birds board.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan (author) from Victoria, Australia on December 13, 2013:
It is beautiful and I love the pastel shades - and He sure is awesome, too!
Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on December 13, 2013:
The princess parrot is extremely beautiful i just love the colour and long tail. Ain't God awesome he created such lovely things :)