Australian Ringneck

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Birds

iAustralian Ringneck
Australian Ringneck (intermediate between B. Z. zonarius and B. Z. semitorquatus) near Augusta, Western Australia
Australian Ringneck (intermediate between B. Z. zonarius and B. Z. semitorquatus) near Augusta, Western Australia
Conservation status

Least Concern (LC)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Platycercinae
Tribe: Platycercini
Genus: Barnardius
Bonaparte, 1854
Species: B. zonarius
Binomial name
Barnardius zonarius
( Shaw, 1805)

B. z. zonarius
B. z. semitorquatus
B. z. barnardi
B. z. macgillivrayi


Barnardius barnardi ( Vigors & Horsfield, 1827)

The Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius) is a parrot native to all mainland Australian states. Except for extreme tropical and highland areas the species has adapted to all conditions. Traditionally, two species were recognized in the genus Barnardius, the Port Lincoln Parrot (Barnardius zonarius) and the Mallee Ringneck Barnardius barnardi), but the two species readily interbred at the contact zone and are now considered one species. Currently, four subspecies are recognised, each with a distinct range.

In Western Australia, the Ringneck competes for nesting space with the Rainbow Lorikeet, an introduced species. To protect the Ringneck, culls of the lorikeet are sanctioned by authorities in this region. Overall, though, the Ringneck is not a threatened species.


Currently, four subspecies of Ringneck are recognized .:

  • The Port Lincoln Parrot or Port Lincoln Ringneck (B. z. zonarius ( Shaw, 1805)) is common from Port Lincoln in the south east to Alice Springs in the north east, and from the Karri and Tingle forests of South Western Australia up to the Pilbara district.
  • The Twenty Eight (B. z. semitorquatus ( Quoy & Gaimard, 1830)), named in imitation of its distinctive 'twentee-eight' call, is found in the south western forests of coastal and subcoastal Western Australia.
  • The Mallee Ringneck (B. z. barnardi ( Vigors & Horsfield, 1827)) inhabits New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.
  • The Cloncurry Parrot (B. z. macgillivrayi ( North, 1900)) is found from the Lake Eyre basin in the Northern Territory to the North gulf of Queensland.

The classification of this species is still debated, and recent molecular research has found that all subspecies are very close related . Several other subspecies have been described, but are considered synonyms with one of the above subspecies. B. z. occidentalis has been synomised with B. z. zonarius. Intermediates exist between all subspecies except for between B. z. zonarius and B. z. macgillivrayi.

The species is considered not threatened, but in Western Australia, the Twenty Eight subspecies (B. z. semitorquatus) gets locally displaced by the introduced Rainbow Lorikeets that aggressively complete for nesting places. The Rainbow Lorikeet is considered a pest species in Western Australia and is subject to eradication in the wild.


The subspecies of the Australian Ringneck differ considerably in coloration. It is a medium size species of around 33 cm long. The basic colour is green, and all four subspecies have the characteristic yellow ring around the hindneck; wings and tail are a mixture of green and blue. The B. z. zonarius and B. z. semitorquatus subspecies have a dull black head; back, rump and wings are brilliant green; throat and breast bluish-green. The different between these two subspecies is that B. z. zonarius has a yellow abdomen while B. z. semitorquatus has a green abdomen; the latter has also a prominent crimson frontal band that the former lacks (the intermediate shown in the taxobox has characteristics of both subspecies). The two other subspecies differ from these subspecies by the bright green crown and nape and blush cheek-patches. The underparts of B. z. barnardi are turquoise-green with an irregular orange-yellow band across the abdomen; the back and mantle are deep blackish-blue and this subspecies has a prominent red frontal band. The B. z. macgillivrayi is generally pale green, with a wide uniform pale yellow band across the abdomen.


The Australian Ringneck is active during the day and can be found in eucalypt woodlands and eucalypt-lined watercourses. The species is gregarious and depending on the conditions can be resident or nomadic. As most parrots, it breeds in tree cavities. Breeding season for the Northern populations starts in June or July, while the central and southern populations breed from August to February but this can be delayed when climatic conditions are unfavourable. This species eats a wide range of foods that include nectar, insects, seeds, fruit, and native and introduced bulbs. It will eat orchard-grown fruit, and are sometimes seen as a pest by farmers.


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