Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Hooded Parrots at Pine Creek

Hooded Parrots are endemic to the Northern Territory. They have a limited range and Pine Creek is a well known place to find them. The closely related Golden-shouldered Parrot is confined to a limited range on Cape York. Both occupy savannah woodland and nest in tunnels they excavate in termite mounds.

The Hooded Parrot generally breeds from April to June. We found that after the breeding season in early July a flock of about at least 100 birds were regularly coming into Pine Creek on dusk to drink and roost overnight in trees within the township.

Finding birds out in the vast woodlands would be a long shot so the easy option is to wait for the birds to come into town for a drink. Also during the breeding season, pairs would be widely dispersed and may not come into town. The large flock we saw contained many juvenile birds – the juvenile males look like females so in the flock we saw the adult males were well outnumbered by plain green birds.

Male Hooded Parrot in for a drink at a leaking sprinkler in Public Gardens near the Lazy Lizard Resort Pine Creek.
Female Hooded Parrot at the same sprinkler as the male in the photo above.
Male and female Hooded Parrots perched in a tree waiting to drink at pop up sprinklers on a nearby lawn.

Other species came in for a drink at the leaking sprinkler.

Little Friarbirds are very numerous everywhere we go in the Top End.
Rainbow Lorikeets – the red collared sub species found in the Top End.
I am not sure why this sprinkler was so popular, it was in a moderately busy location?
Blue-faced Honeyeater – another common bird up here.
Same bird - another pose.
Ditto above.

It would have been preferable to find some Hooded Parrots in a more natural setting for photos. On the other hand, it was great so see a potentially vulnerable native bird species that appears to have built up a good population based on exploiting the Pine Creek township water and safe roosting sites in the town’s gardens. Also this is a win/win situation as a good number of visitors come to Pine Creek to see the Hooded Parrot.


  1. They are NOT rainbow lorikeets. They are Red-collared Lorikeets!!

    1. At the time of preparing and publishing the Hooded Parrots at Pine Creek post the Red-collard Lorikeet was a sub-species of the Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus rubitorquis (refer BirdLife Australia Working List V1.1). Since then the Red-collared has been recognised as a separate species Trichoglossus rubritorquis (refer BirdLife Australia Working List V2) The latest field guide to be published in Australia "The Australian Bird Guide by Menkhorst et al" show the Red-collared as a species, the other guides show it to be a sub-species.