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The striking and sweet-natured Princess of Wales Parakeet

The striking and sweet-natured Princess of Wales Parakeet

The striking and sweet-natured Princess of Wales Parakeet

The stunningly beautiful and elegant Princess of Wales Parakeet (Polytelis alexandrae), also known as the Alexandra’s Parakeet, Princess Parakeet, and Rose-throated Parakeet, is one of Australia’s most elusive parakeets, and is rarely seen in the wild. These parakeets lead a nomadic life-style and are opportunist breeders, that don’t return to the same breeding or feeding grounds each year, and don’t even breed at the same time every year.

POW’s in small flocks of up to 20 birds, roam Australia’s dry and arid, interior and western regions, that make up the second largest expanse of hot desert in the world, Africa’s vast Sahara desert is number one. They inhabit the mountains and higher regions of arid woodland, as well as acacia scrub and hummock grasslands set in amongst the sand dunes, where they feed on seeding spinifex grasses, the seeding heads, flowers and nectar from shrubs such as grevillea, the blossoms of casuarinas, acacia and eucalyptus trees, green vegetation and probably insects.

Hollows in red gums or desert oaks growing near to a water course are used for nesting. It is thought that the rains, and the plentiful food supply that follows, prompt pairs to go to nest. But, a lack of rain and water, perhaps due to climatic changes and a lack of food, due to the organised grazing of sheep, rabbits and camels in order to reduce the fire threat, along with competition for resources with other parrot species, are all listed as being responsible for their currently dwindling population. They are now thought to number no more than 5,000, and as a species, POWs have been listed on IUCN’s Red List I as ‘Near Threatened,’ and on CITES Appendix II as ‘Endangered.’

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