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The Princess parrot (Polytelis alexandrae) is a type of parakeet native to Australia. It is named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who became Queen of England in 1901 when her husband Edward VII ascended the throne. The bird goes by many other names as well, including Alexandra's Parakeet, Queen Alexandra Parrot, Princess of Wales Parakeet, Spinifex parrot, and Rose-throated Parakeet. It measures about 13 to 18 inches long (34 to 46 cm), and usually features green plumage with a pink throat and a blue crown and rump.
The Princess parrot is a nomadic bird living throughout the interior of Australia with a life span of up to 30 years. It prefers dry woodland climates and has a diet consisting mainly of seeds. Princess parrots are opportunistic breeders, meaning they breed whenever conditions are favorable rather than having a regular breeding season. When food is plentiful, Princess parrot pairs nest in the hollow of a eucalyptus or desert oak tree, and lay four to six eggs. The chicks hatch in about 19 days, and leave the nest approximately 35 days later.
Princess parrots are one of the few parrot species to engage in mobbing behavior against predators. The adults attack and harass predators in groups to drive them away and to protect their young. The birds also have loud, chattering calls, particularly just before and during flight. They also vocalize while perched with a variety of chirps and grunts.
The male Princess parrot is typically more brightly colored than the female and features a red beak and orange eyes. Females have a grey beak and brown eyes. Males also have longer tail feathers and a long extra feather in the wings, called a spatula.
In addition to the regular green color, Princess parrots may be blue, albino, or lutino. Albino birds are white, while lutinos are yellow, exhibiting a less extreme lack of pigmentation than albinos. The Princess parrot is a popular pet because of its appearance, hardiness, and temperament, being more gentle and quiet than other parakeet species. Some Princess parrots can mimic human talk or whistles. Males raised by hand are considered the best pets.
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