Last Updated on: 19th November 2023, 01:39 pm
Of the many beautiful colors showcased by parrots, red is among the most striking. Parrots usually have red feathers mixed with other colors like yellow, green, and blue rather than being entirely red.
The types of red parrots include:
- Australian king parrots.
- Black-winged lories
- Cardinal lories.
- Chattering lories.
- Crimson rosellas.
- Female eclectus parrots.
- Galah cockatoos.
- Moluccan king parrots.
- Papuan king parrots.
- Purple-naped loris.
- Red and blue loris.
- Red and Green Macaws.
- Red loris.
- Salmon-crested cockatoos.
- Scarlet Macaws.
- Violet-necked loris.
- Western rosellas.
Parrot species stand out from other birds due to their bright and vibrant colors. We’ll explore why parrots have red feathers, why they assist them in nature, and which birds showcase this color.
What Makes Parrots Red?
According to Current Biology, parrots get red feathers from unique pigments called psittacofulvins.
Parrots synthesize psittacofulvins in their feather follicles, developing unique colors. This differs from other bird species, like red-factor canaries, which get their colors from dietary carotenoids.
According to Science Illustrated, melanin is also involved in red feathers because the concentration of the pigment granules turns the original black color into lighter colors.
Red feathers benefit parrots in the following ways:
- Attracting mates. Bright and vibrant colors indicate that a male is healthy and fertile.
- Warning. Red feathers serve as a warning to predators. According to the Natural History Museum, red signifies aggression and danger among birds, reptiles, and fish.
- Feed their young. Parrots use the brightness around chicks’ mouths to determine who to feed.
- Camouflage. Red parrots hide against colorful flowers and fruit trees/bushes to evade predators.
Red feathers have various evolutionary explanations. For example, males are brighter colored because they compete against each other to attract females during the breeding season.
Red Parrot Species
It’s rare for parrots to be entirely red because other colors and shades are usually found in their feathers. However, red is usually the most dominant part of a parrot’s plumage.
The most common types of red parrots include the following:
Australian King Parrots
Martin Lichtenstein, a German naturalist, first found the Australian king parrot (Alisterus scapularis) back in 1818.
Australian king parrots are native to Eastern Australia, from Queensland to Victoria. They’re commonly kept as pets in Australia.
They’re sexually dimorphic birds, meaning they can be distinguished by gender. The main difference is the heads and breasts of females are entirely green.
A red belly, forest-green back, and long, green tail are common to both genders. They average 41 to 43 cm long and weigh 230 to 250 grams. This bird is commonly mistaken for the Crimson Rosella.
Australian king parrots can repeat simple words and sounds but aren’t skilled talking birds.
Biak red loris and blue-cheeked loris are alternative names for black-winged lories.
They’re native to Western New Guinea and Indonesia, where they can be found in coconut plantations and coastal forests.
The black-winged lori is characterized by bright red feathers, a black shoulder, a red iris, an orange-red beak, and a violet patch behind the eye.
The underwings appear red and turn yellow, with black tips. They’re 30 cm long and weigh 120 grams.
Males and females have a strong resemblance with minimal sexual dimorphism.
Regrettably, black-winged lories are under threat of extinction. Most black-winged loris are in breeding programs to preserve their numbers, so they’re seldom observed in captivity.
Cardinal lories (Chalcopsitta cardinalis) are native to islands east of Papua New Guinea, including the Solomon and Bougainville Islands and the Bismarck archipelago.
They nest in tree canopies, thriving in woodland areas.
Cardinal lories have a plumage comprising red feathers in various shades on specific body parts.
The wings and back are slightly darker, while the chest has light streaks through it. There are black feathers around the beak and feet, which contrast with the other colors.
They’re about 31 cm long and weigh about 195 grams.
Loris are nectarivorous birds with brush-like tongues, feeding on nectar, pollen, and fruit juice.
Cardinal lories are noisy birds. Their natural calls are loud and piercing, but they aren’t constant.
The chattering lory (Lorius garrulus) is found in the forests of North Maluku, Indonesia (Bacan, Morotai, Obi, Rau, Widi, and Ternate).
Chattering loris have mostly red bodies and beaks with orange eyes.
Their wings and thighs are green, while the wing coverts are yellow. Chattering lories also have a green tail with a blue tip.
Adult chattering loris reach about 12 cm long and weigh up to 250 grams.
Chattering lories have a loud nasal whistle, which is unpleasant. Like all red parrots, they’re noisiest when they awaken at sunrise to communicate with flock members.
The chattering lory population is declining due to habitat loss and the pet industry.
Crimson rosellas (Platycercus elegans) are among the most sought-after rosella pets.
Males and females look different (sexual dimorphism), meaning you can tell their sexes apart visually.
Males are mostly bright red with bright blue facial patches and have blue faces on their wings and tail.
Females are similar but have a dark green patch of feathers on the middle of their tails.
Crimson rosellas don’t like too much attention and prefer not to be petted. Be aware of their bite, as they can be nippy birds.
Female Eclectus Parrots
Female Eclectus parrots (Eclectus roratus) are bright red with royal blue feathers around the bottom of the chest, back, wings, hips, and thighs.
The underwing coverts are purple and edged with a mauve blue.
Eclectus parrots have feathers that appear fluffy and fuzzy. They’re also fun and get on well with children, making them good family pets.
As medium-sized birds, Eclectus parrots need space to claim and explore.
Also called rose-breasted cockatoo (Eolophus roseicapilla), galahs are mainly pink, although some feathers are light red. They also have pinkish-white crests and grey wings, backs, feet, and tail feathers.
Males and females look similar, but males have dark irises. In contrast, the females’ irises are light pink.
Galah cockatoos are native to Australia. They’re not overly loud, but they’re vocal. They screech and scream when frightened, excited, or want attention. They can also imitate voices and repetitive sounds.
Moluccan King Parrots
Moluccan king parrots (Alisterus amboinensis) have well-defined plumage. They have red feathers with bright green wings and a bright blue back, rump, tail, and wing coverts.
A DNA test is needed to tell males and females apart. At almost 15 inches, Moluccan kings are medium-sized parrots.
Moluccan king parrots make ideal pets as they’re quiet and gentle. With care and attention, they form strong bonds with people and enjoy spending time with them.
Unfortunately, the population is dwindling due to predation and habitat loss.
Papuan King Parrots
Also called the green-winged king parrot, male Papuan king parrots (Alisterus chloropterus) are red except for their orange irises, blue back and rump, bright green wings, and dark grey legs.
Females have the same colors, except their heads are green, and they have green and red striations on the chest.
Papuan king parrots are quiet and docile. They’re tame birds, even in the wild. They prefer not to be handled often, enjoying space and freedom.
The purple-naped lory (Lorius domicella) has a red body, a black forehead, and a yellow band on the breast.
They have purple thighs, which can also be blue in some birds, green wings, and a yellow underwing band.
The tail is red but tipped with a darker burgundy color. The eyes are either orange or red, while the eye rings are dark grey.
They live in forests endemic to the islands of Seram and Ambon. Purple-naped lories have become vulnerable and are considered endangered.
Red and Blue Loris
Red and blue lories (Eos histrio) look similar to purple-naped lories but are bluer. They inhabit an Indonesian island archipelago called Karakelang.
The plumage, wings, back of the head, and feathers around the nostrils are bright red. The lower belly is red but slightly darker.
The nape of the neck and back is a vibrant violet, while the breast features a deep blue band. Males and females look similar.
They use short, chattering vocalizations to communicate with each other.
Due to their declining numbers, all international trade of the birds is strictly prohibited. Red and blue lories are rarely seen in the pet trade.
Red and Green Macaws
Also called the green-winged macaw, red and green macaws (Ara chloropterus) are another iconic red parrot species.
While similar to scarlet macaws, they can be distinguished by their kaleidoscopic blue and green wings.
Red and green macaws have red lines around their eyes, contrasting against their bare white skin.
This is among the easiest ways to distinguish between scarlet macaws and red and green macaws. They’re also the second-largest parrot species in the world.
Red lories (Eos bornea) are similar in size to red and blue lories.
Their bodies are almost entirely red, except for blue and black markings on the back and wings. The tail is also brownish-red with blue undertail coverts. They have brown-red eyes and orange-red colored beaks.
Red lories are comedic and entertaining birds that enjoy chattering away.
They need ample attention to prevent them from getting bored. They can also become nippy and destructive around the home, requiring constant supervision.
After the rainbow lorikeet, red lories are the most commonly kept lory species in captivity. Their owners love their flamboyant and theatrical personalities.
The salmon-crested cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) is also called the Moluccan cockatoo.
They have rosy pink feathers, which are fluffy and fuzzy. They also have a crest that rises when excited, angry, or afraid.
Salmon-crested cockatoos are rare in the wild, but they’re easy to get hold of in captivity due to breeding programs. They need space inside and outside their cage.
They can become needy and commonly become one-person birds.
Scarlet macaws (Ara macao) are a recognizable parrot species.
Their plumage is predominantly bright red, but they also have light blue rump and tail feathers, darker blue feathers on the tail end and wings, and yellow feathers on the upper wings.
Some scarlet macaws also have a gold tint on their tail flight feathers.
Scarlet macaws have plumage similar to green-winged macaws and are similar in size, so they’re sometimes mistaken for them. At 32 inches long, scarlet macaws are slightly smaller.
Wild scarlet macaws are often found licking the clay off the giant walls of the Peruvian salt licks. They appear in large red flocks, which is a magnificent sight to anyone watching.
Violet-necked lories (Eos squamata) resemble female Eclectus parrots but have orange beaks.
The plumage is primarily red with large violet bands around the head and chest. The extent of the blue-collar each parrot has depends on the subspecies, which consists of:
- E.s Squamata.
- E.s Riciniata.
- E.s Obiensis.
They also have red and black wings and a purple-red tail. Of all the lory parrots, violet-necked lories are the gentlest. They’re social birds who enjoy time with people they know and trust.
They spend time mimicking basic words and sounds. However, their vocabulary isn’t as extensive as some other birds. They’re not too loud or noisy.
Western rosellas (Platycercus icterotis) are the only rosella parrots in southwestern Australia.
The head and the underside of the parrot’s plumage are red, while the back is mottled black. Western rosellas also have bright yellow cheeks, distinguishing them from other rosellas.
Females are slightly duller-colored than males, with most red feathers around the head and neck, and their underparts are green.
As pets, western rosellas possess melodic vocalizations that are pleasant to hear. They’re quiet birds, but they make frequent sounds, like whistling.
They keep themselves tucked away, especially when eating, but they appear unperturbed by humans and don’t mind visitors getting close to them.
How Long Do Red Parrots Live?
How long a red parrot will live depends on the species. Smaller parrots usually live shorter lives, while larger parrots can live as long as the average human.
The average life expectancy of red parrots is:
|Red Parrot Species||Average Lifespan (Years)|
|Australian King Parrot||25 – 30 years|
|Black-Winged Lory||25 – 35 years|
|Blue-Eared Lory||15 – 32 years|
|Blue-Streaked Lory||15 – 32 years|
|Cardinal Lory||28 – 32 years|
|Chattering Lory||20 – 30 years|
|Crimson Rosella||20 – 30 years|
|Crimson Shining Parrot||Unknown|
|Female Eclectus||30 – 50 years|
|Galah Cockatoo||40 – 70 years|
|Moluccan King Parrot||30 – 40 years|
|Papuan King Parrot||15 – 25 years|
|Purple-Naped Lory||25 – 30 years|
|Red and Blue Lory||10 – 15 years|
|Red and Green Macaw||50 – 80 years|
|Red Lory||30 years|
|Salmon-Crested Cockatoo||Up to 70 years|
|Scarlet Macaw||40 – 50 years|
|Violet-Necked Lory||15 years|
|Western Rosella||15 – 20 years|
How Much Are Red Parrots?
Larger, more advanced parrots with long lifespans cost more than small, short-lived parrots.
Similarly, older parrots can be more expensive because they’re trained and socialized. They may also talk, making them more attractive to future owners.
While juvenile parrots are cheaper, getting one at a young age helps improve your bond.
The cost of a red parrot depends on the following factors:
- Breeder’s reputation.
- Temperament and personality.
- Hereditary diseases.
- Parrot’s talking abilities.
- Unique marks or features.
- Markings and colors.
The average prices of red parrots are as follows:
|Red Parrot Species||Average Price (USD)|
|Australian King Parrot||$100 – $500 in Australia, $1000+ in the US|
|Black-Winged Lory||N/A – Endangered|
|Blue-Eared Lory||N/A – Endangered|
|Blue-Streaked Lory||$300 – $400|
|Cardinal Lory||$400 – $500|
|Chattering Lory||$300 – $400|
|Crimson Rosella||$300 – $500|
|Crimson Shining Parrot||N/A – Endangered|
|Female Eclectus||$1,000 – $3,000|
|Galah Cockatoo||$700 – $3,000|
|Moluccan King Parrot||$300 – $600|
|Papuan King Parrot||N/A|
|Purple-Naped Lory||N/A – Endangered|
|Red and Blue Lory||$200 – $300|
|Red and Green Macaw||$3,000 – $4,000|
|Salmon-Crested Cockatoo||$3,000 – $4,000|
|Scarlet Macaw||$2,000 – $4,000|
|Violet-Necked Lory||$300 – $400|
|Western Rosella||$300 – $600|
While red parrots are beautiful, not all make good pets due to temperament or scarcity.
It’s tempting to decide which red parrot to buy based on appearance alone, but there’s much more to them, including their lifespan, temperament, personality, space availability, and dietary needs.