Country News

The Kingies are back!

By The General

Of all the parrots we get along the river, the Kingies are the most spectacular. We've had a pair visiting, now and then, for the last few years but they are becoming more regular, which The Boss likes.

They are easy to pick - not the biggest parrots but a fairly long tail and I hear them before I see them: they have a loud, crashak alarm call like no other bird and a long whistle, endlessly repeated, when they're happy munching.

They fly with heavier wing beats than other parrots, mostly along the tree tops, hunting for seeds of wattles and gums, grass seed and nuts. The old orchard blokes tell The Boss that they used to come into the orchards in flocks after the peaches, pears and apples but we see them mainly in pairs.

The Boss says he sees a lot more of them in the hills, in heavily timbered country and there are plenty around Healesville and the Dandenongs. But we've always had them around the local golf courses and they seem to drift out to the drier spots along the river when things are in blossom or seed.

But what a colour! The male has a rich, scarlet body with dark green back and wings and a dark blue rump, finished off with a black tail.  The hen has less scarlet, mainly on the abdomen, with a black beak. 

So it's not surprising the Governor Phillip noticed them on his trip to Botany Bay back in 1789 - although he mistook them at first as something like the Tabuan parrot he saw in Fiji. I want to correct him on that.

Anyway, they keep The Boss and the Missus happy and I just keep an eye out in case one comes nice and close - I'd like to eat one. Woof!