Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii)

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Superb Parrot
Polytelis swainsonii
Superb Parrot (Polytelis swainsonii)
Name Superb Parrot
Name Lat. Polytelis swainsonii
Family Parrots
Family lat. Psittacidae
Order Parrots
Order lat. Psittaciformes
Origin Australia
Climate Subtropical - tropical
Diet Large Parakeet seed, veggies, fruits
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Cavity nest
Life Span 20-30 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EC Annex B
Metric Units
Size 40 cm
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 200 x 100 x 100 cm
US Units
Size 16"
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 80" x 40" x 40"

Distribution and habitat

Shield parakeets are native to southeastern Australia, where they live in woodlands along river courses, in grass savannahs with trees, and in eucalyptus scrub. Since the export ban in 1960, they are only available as offspring.

Cage size

The minimum cage size is 200 x 100 x 100 cm (L x W x H) for a pair. The cage size must not be undercut even in case of justified single keeping. For an additional 2 birds, assuming species compatibility, the floor space must be increased by 50%. The cage must be placed at a height of at least 80 cm (except aviaries) in a bright, draught-free and quiet place and should have cross-wiring or netting. Keeping in an aviary with a floor area of at least 3 m² is preferable to keeping in a cage.


The floor must be covered with sand, shavings of untreated wood or similar material and cleaned once a week if possible. At least 2 perches made of wood or branches of different thickness and height must be installed in such a way as to provide the longest possible flight path. A bathing facility must be available at all times and they should also be sprayed with water at least once a week (e.g. sprinkler system). Climbing and occupation material, such as rings, ropes and health harmless natural branches must not be missing. They should be kept at room temperature.


The species-specific food offer consists of mixed seeds, available in specialized trade as "large parakeet food" in premium quality, supplemented with foxtail millet, green food (dandelion, chickweed, green panicle millet), vegetables (carrots etc.), fruit, (apples etc.), berries (firethorn, rowan), occasionally insect food and especially for the rearing of young sprouted seeds.), fruit, (apples, etc.), berries (firethorn, rowan), fresh twigs with buds, occasional insect food and, especially for raising young, germinated seed (wheat, corn), meal beetle larvae and egg food. They need grit, cuttlefish and vitamin lime as digestive aids. Water must always be available in birdbaths or in stable, open containers. Feed and water must be offered fresh daily, and the containers must be cleaned beforehand.

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

In the male, the forehead, crown, cheeks and throat are bright yellow and they have a red band (shield) between the throat and chest.

They breed in nest cavities made of softwood or in hollowed-out tree trunks. Bark mulch or sawdust from conifers is suitable as nest box bedding. The clutch consists of 4-6 eggs, the brood duration is about 20 days. The incubation period is, biologically speaking, from March to August when kept in an open aviary. Young birds should be raised so that they are species-specific.

Species protection

They should be provided with a leg ring. They are exempt from the obligation to notify (Federal Species Protection Ordinance Annex 5 to § 7 para. 2). Your pet store will be happy to provide you with further information.

Protection of species: WA appendix II; EU appendix B. The purchase receipt is the required proof of origin for the animal. Please keep it safe!


In the case of outdoor aviaries, they also need a heated shelter of at least 1 m², which can be visited by the birds at any time. The temperature in the shelter must not fall below 5 °C and the furnishings must be the same as those used in cages

They may be kept only in pairs or in a group. Sufficient daylight or flicker-free artificial light (stroboscopic effect) corresponding to daylight must be provided in rooms, including shelters. The lighting duration shall be 8-12 hours per day and the natural day-night rhythm shall be observed. Adequate indoor climate should be provided. If caged, they should be allowed free flight. The health condition of the birds should be checked daily.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Othmar Sieberer; Image: Othmar Sieberer

Source: BMELV (1995): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Papageien; ARNDT (1997): Lexikon der Papageien, Arndt Verlag; GRUMMT & STREHLOW (2009): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Vögel, Verlag Harri Deutsch 

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF