Parrots can be found in a multitude of colors, but one of the most striking is red.
Parrots are rarely red all over but have a selection of red feathers alongside other shades, such as orange, yellow, green, and blue.
Red parrot species include scarlet macaws, red and green macaws, and the female Eclectus. Other red parrots include several types of lory, the salmon-crested cockatoo, and the Western rosella.
Parrots get their red feathers through psittacofulvins, which are pigments. Melanin also plays a part in a parrot’s unique feather coloration.
Their colors distinguish different species of parrots, so let’s look at the most popular red parrots.
What Makes Parrots Red?
According to Current Biology, parrots get their red feathers through unique pigments called psittacofulvins.
These pigments also create green, orange, and pink feathers. Parrots synthesize them in their feather follicles, which form their unique coloration and patterns.
This differs significantly from other birds, which get their feather coloration from dietary carotenoids. According to Science Illustrated, melanins also produce red feathers. That’s because the concentration of the pigment granules turns the original black coloration into lighter colors. Red feathers enable parrots to:
- Attract a mate. Brighter colors indicate that the parrot’s healthier and has better reproduction abilities.
- Communicate. Red feathers serve as a warning to enemies and predators.
- Feed their young. Parrots use the brightness around their babies’ mouths to decide the ones that need nourishment.
- Camouflage. To evade predators, red parrots hide against brightly-colored flowers and fruit plants.
Red feathers aren’t bright and vibrant for aesthetic reasons. Instead, they serve several evolutionary and survival purposes. Males tend to be brighter colored as they compete against each other to win the attention of females.
Red Parrot Species
It’s rare for parrots to be red all over as other tones usually accompany their feathers. However, because red is so bright, it’s often the most dominant part of a parrot’s plumage. The most common red-colored parrots include:
Australian King Parrot
As the name suggests, Australian king parrots are native to Australia and are rarely seen outside of the country. Males have more red feathers throughout their bodies than females, but they have forest-green wings and a purple back.
Females are primarily green with lighter chest feathers. The feathers around the belly and thighs are more of an orange hue, while the underside of the tail is a mixture of red and green.
Because of their bright, vibrant feathers, Australian king parrots are becoming more popular in the pet trade.
They’re also quiet birds that rarely scream or squawk, so they’re well suited to apartments or homes with nearby neighbors. They can repeat simple words and sounds, but they’re not considered talking birds.
Also known as the blue-cheeked lory, black-winged lories are predominantly red all over with a splash of violet across their eyes. They also have black shoulder feathers and black wing and tail tips.
Black-winged lories don’t only have red feathers; they also have red beaks. Most parrots have brown or black beaks, but this is a relatively rare feature. Their eyes are also red.
Sadly, black-winged lories are endangered. Most that are around today are in breeding programs to preserve their species. Their numbers are dwindling due to deforestation, hunting, and the illegal pet trade. However, these parrots are rarely seen in captivity.
However, few breeding programs are available, as black-winged lories are aggressive and can kill their mates.
Cardinal lories are rarely seen in captivity. They’re native to the islands east of Papua New Guinea, including the Solomon and Bougainville islands and the Bismarck archipelago. They live in tree canopies and thrive in humid forests and coastal woodlands.
Cardinal lories have a simple plumage consisting of red feathers in various shades all over the body. 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 against the rest of the parrot’s coloration, making it unique.
Cardinal lories aren’t too noisy, but they’re not the quietest either. Their natural calls are loud and piercing, but they don’t vocalize all the time. If you’re lucky enough to find one in captivity, it should make a friendly pet that’s full of personality.
The chattering lory comes from forests endemic to North Maluku, Indonesia. It has a predominantly red body, red beak, and orange eyes. The wings and thighs are green, while the wing coverts are yellow. Chattering lories also have a green tail with a blue tip.
The chattering lory is another endangered parrot species. However, it’s the most popular type of lory and is affectionately named because it spends most of the day chattering away. Chattering lories also have a loud nasal whistle, which doesn’t sound pleasant to listen to. That’s why they’re not suited to apartments.
They can also mimic household sounds and become noisy in the morning after sunrise. Some owners find this annoying, but it’s their natural behavior, meaning it’s difficult to stop.
The crimson rosella is one of the most sought-after rosella pets. They’re friendly birds that do well with other parrots inside an aviary. Males and females look different, so you can tell them apart by looking at them.
Males are mostly bright red with bright blue facial patches. They also have blue faces on their wings and tail. Females are similar, but they have a dark-green patch of feathers on the middle of their tails.
Unlike other parrots, crimson rosellas aren’t very cuddly and affectionate. They don’t like too much attention and prefer not to be petted. However, they do like to perch on their owners’ shoulders from time to time. Be careful of their bite, as they can be nippy, grumpy birds.
Unlike males, which are bright green, female Eclectus parrots are bright red with royal blue feathers around the bottom of the chest, back, wings, hips, and thigh area. The underwing coverts are purple and edged with a mauve blue.
Eclectus parrots have fur-like feathers that appear fluffy and fuzzy. This is one of the reasons they’re such popular pet birds. They’re also fun and get on well with children, making them great for families. They don’t like sudden loud noises, though, so they’re best suited to quieter homes.
However, because they’re large birds, Eclectus parrots need plenty of space. They also need to be kept active, so as long as they have plenty of out-of-cage time and the largest cage you can fit into your home, your bird should remain happy and healthy.
Also known as the rose-breasted cockatoo, galahs are mainly pink, though some parrots’ feathers are closer to a 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, females’ are light pink.
Galah cockatoos are native to Australia. They’re not particularly loud, but they are vocal. They screech and scream when they’re frightened, excited, or want attention. They can also imitate voices and repetitive sounds.
Galah cockatoos prefer spending as much time with their owners as possible. They’re affectionate and friendly, so they do well living with other birds. If you don’t provide yours with the attention it needs, it can become depressed and angry. This means galahs are a commitment.
Moluccan King Parrot
Moluccan king parrots are famous for their well-defined plumage. They have predominantly red feathers with bright green wings and a bright blue back, rump, tail, and wing coverts. Male and females look alike, and the only way to distinguish them is with a DNA test.
At almost 15 inches, Moluccan kings are a medium-sized parrot species. As such, they need plenty of space inside and outside of their cage.
Sadly, the Moluccan king parrot population is dwindling due to predation and the loss of habitat. That means they’re relatively rare in captivity. However, they’re ideal pets as they’re quiet and gentle. With the right care and attention, they make strong bonds with their owners and enjoy spending time with them.
Papuan King Parrot
Also known as the green-winged king parrot, male Papuan king parrots are completely red except for their orange irises, blue back and rump, bright green wings, and dark grey legs. Females have the same coloration, except their heads are green, and they have green and red striations on the chest.
Papuan king parrots are ideal novice pets because they’re quiet and docile. They’re tame birds, even in the wild. That being said, they prefer not to be handled too often and enjoy their own space.
Ensure that a Papuan king parrot has plenty of space to fly and roam. Let it out of its cage regularly. Spend lots of time socializing with your parrot, and it’ll remain happy.
The purple-naped lory has a red body, black forehead, and a yellow band on the breast. It has purple thighs, which can also present as blue in some birds, green wings, and a yellow underwing band. The tail is red, but it’s tipped with a darker burgundy color. The eyes are either orange or red, while the eye rings are dark grey.
Purple-naped lories have become vulnerable and are now considered endangered due to relentless trapping for the illegal pet trade. While you can find them in captivity, not all have been bred for the pet trade and were once wild. This means they make difficult pets because they’re used to having their freedom.
In the wild, they live in forests that are endemic to the islands of Seram and Ambon.
Red and Blue Lory
Red and blue lories look similar to purple-naped lories, but they’re bluer. They inhabit a single island in the Indonesian archipelago called Karakelang. They’re sexually monomorphic, meaning males and females are aesthetically alike.
The plumage, wings, back of the head, and feathers around the nostrils are bright red. The red and lower belly are also red but are slightly darker. The nape of the neck and back is a vibrant violet color, while the breast features a deep blue band.
Red and blue lories are rarely seen in the pet trade, and due to their declining numbers, all international trade of the birds is prohibited. Sadly, they’re still trapped and caught for the illegal pet trade. They use short, chattering vocalizations to communicate with each other.
Red and Green Macaw
Also known as the green-winged macaw, red and green macaws are another famous red parrot species. While they’re 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, which contrast with their bare white skin. This is one of the easiest ways to distinguish between scarlet and red and green macaws. They’re also larger and are, in fact, the second-largest parrot species in the world.
While red and green macaws are popular birds, they don’t make ideal pets. They need the same care as a small child and have powerful beaks, meaning they can easily destroy household items.
Red lories are similar in shape and 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 beaks.
Red lories are highly entertaining birds. They enjoy chattering away to their owners and require plenty of social interaction. Even though they’re relatively small, they need lots of attention to prevent them from getting bored. They can also become nippy and destructive around the home, so they need constant supervision.
After the rainbow lorikeet, red lories are the most commonly-kept lory species in captivity. That’s because their owners love their flamboyant and theatrical personalities, which keeps them entertained for hours.
The salmon-crested cockatoo is also known as the Moluccan cockatoo, which is different from the Moluccan king. It’s famous for its rosy-pink feathers, with are fluffy and fuzzy. These parrots also have a crest that appears whenever they’re excited, angry, or afraid.
Salmon-crested cockatoos are rare in the wild, but they’re easy to get hold of in captivity due to several successful breeding programs. They need lots of space inside and outside their cage and enjoy spending plenty of quality time with their owners.
If you’re not careful, they can become quite needy and commonly become jealous one-person birds. But the right training and socialization from a young age should help prevent these behaviors from becoming an issue. You can also teach your bird to perform tricks and dances with time and patience.
Scarlet macaws are one of the most recognizable parrot species in the world. 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 similar plumage to green-winged macaws and are similar in size, so they’re commonly mistaken for them. But 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, causing a magnificent sight to anyone passing by.
Violet-necked lories bear a striking resemblance to female Eclectus parrots, but they have orange beaks. The plumage is primarily red with large violet bands around the head and chest. How much of a 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. Out of all the lory parrots, violet-necked lories are considered the most gentle. They’re social birds that enjoy spending time with their owners.
They also spend a significant amount of their time mimicking basic words and sounds. However, their vocabulary isn’t as extensive as some other birds. They’re not too loud or noisy, so they’re suitable for apartments or small houses.
Western rosellas are the only rosella parrots found 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, which distinguishes them from other rosellas.
Females are slightly duller than males, and most of the red feathers around the head, neck, and underparts are green.
As pets, western rosellas possess melodic vocalizations that are pleasant to listen to. They’re quiet birds, but they do make frequent sounds. They sometimes also whistle, which can be annoying to nearby neighbors.
They keep themselves tucked away, especially when eating, but they appear undisturbed by humans and don’t mind visitors getting close to them.
How Long Do Red Parrots Live?
How long a red parrot’s expected to live depends on the species. Smaller parrots tend to live shorter lives, while larger parrots can live as long as the average human, making them a life-long commitment.
Before choosing the right parrot, consider how many years you’re willing to dedicate to caring for one. In the cases of long lifespans, are your family able to take over ownership if anything happens to you?
The expected lifespan of the red parrot species we’ve already mentioned are as follows:
|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?
If you’re wondering about the average cost of a red parrot, the truth is it varies widely because they all come from different families.
They also differ in shape, size, and abilities. As a rule of thumb, larger, more advanced parrots with long lifespans are almost certain to cost more than a small parrot that isn’t as likely to live very long.
Similarly, older parrots can be more expensive because they’re already trained and socialized. They also talk, making them more attractive. However, while younger birds are sometimes cheaper, getting one from a young age helps improve your bond. The cost of each parrot depends on:
- Breeder’s reputation
- Parrot’s temperament and personality
- Hereditary diseases
- Parrot’s talking abilities
- Unique marks or features
- Overall 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, they don’t all make ideal pets. It’s tempting to base a decision on which bird to get based on its looks alone, but there’s much more to it, including their lifespan, temperament, personality, and dietary needs. Do your research before picking the red parrot most likely to fit into your lifestyle and be right for your family.