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Orange-bellied, blue winged, elegant or rock parrot - what's the difference?

Updated: Apr 7

Another confusing one when it comes to identifying birds is these four beautiful but also quite similar parrots. The main population of orange-bellied parrots and blue-winged parrots are found in Tasmania. Elegant parrots are found in western Victoria whereas Rock Parrots are generally seen in south and west Australia.


Orange-bellied Parrot & Blue-winged Parrot


Although it may seem like it, no these two parrots are not identical. The critically endangered orange-bellied parrot (OBP) has dark green upper-parts and a broad blue band between the eyes. The OBP was named after its orange patch on the belly which also appears on the blue-winged parrot. The blue-winged parrot has a larger and darker blue patch on the wings. The band running from eye to eye is also more narrow and darker than the OBP.

Rock Parrot & Elegant Parrot



The Rock Parrot can be recognised from the other 3 species by the blue marking on its face. The other three species have a blue band running from eye to eye but not on the lores. It is also almost exclusively terrestrial which should help when identifying. The elegant parrot has a two tone blue patch on the wings. The two tone colouring can also be observed on its eye band which is unique to the parrot.


So there we are the trick for identifying these four species is to concentrate on facial markings and colour of wings.


Credits for these photos: Chris Wiley, Peter Taylor, Dirk Thomas, Tom Johnson



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© 2020 by Oliver Lavillette

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