Red Capped Parrot (or King Parrot)
Is only found in the south west of WA within 100kms of the coast from Perth to Esperance, rarely seen in the Big Swamp preferring forests of Eucalyptus, Jarrah and Marri. They feed on seeds from the eucalypt, their long upper beak is especially adapted to open large capsules.
The young learn the technique of holding the capsule with a foot and rotating it with their long upper bill to remove the seeds. Unfortunately, they tend to practise in apple orchards destroying fruit just to get to the pips so can be a pest, but once they and their beaks have matured they leave for the forests.
Males have a distinctive red cap, lime green cheeks and rump, purple breast and red underbelly. Females are not as gaudy.
They nest in hollows in mature gum trees, 4-6 eggs are laid between August and December and incubated by the female for 23 days, the chicks leave the nest approximately five weeks later. They tend to remain in the same area throughout their lives so it is interesting to see one at the Big Swamp, our tree plantings must be mature enough to provide a food source.