Parrots are found in multitudes of colors and color combinations. It’s rare to find an entirely red parrot, but many have red feathers alongside yellow, green, blue, or orange shades. A parrot’s feather coloration is dependent on melanin. Colored feathers are distinguished by pigments called psittacofulvins.1 The concentration of the pigment in the base of a parrot’s feather determines how light or dark the color will be.
Red feathers are especially striking. Bright colors tend to indicate healthy birds with strong reproductive capabilities. They also help parrots camouflage themselves against bright flowers and fruits. Males tend to be brighter than females, as bright feathers show off their vitality and help attract a mate.
While there aren’t many parrot breeds that are exclusively red, there are several with red as the most dominant color in their plumage.
The 17 Types of Red Parrots
1. Australian King Parrot
As their name suggests, Australian King Parrots are native to Australia. Males have red feathers throughout their body, with forest-green wings and a purple back. Females have fewer red feathers and are primarily green.
Due to their bright colors, Australian King Parrots are becoming popular in the pet trade. They’re quiet birds that rarely vocalize, making them excellent apartment companions. These parrots can repeat words or sounds, but they aren’t considered talking birds.
2. Black-Winged Lory
The Black-Winged or Blue-Cheeked Lory has a predominantly red tail and purple feathers across their eyes. Their name comes from their black shoulders and wingtips. What’s unique about these birds is that they don’t just have red feathers, but they also have red beaks and red eyes. This is unique in the parrot world; most parrots have brown or black beaks.
Unfortunately, the Black-Winged Lory is considered an endangered species. Breeding programs contain most of the birds that are left, as people work to preserve and increase their numbers. Deforestation, hunting, and illegal pet trading have led to the species’ decline.
Even in captivity, these birds are tough to find because they are extremely aggressive and often kill their mates.
3. Chattering Lory
This parrot is native to Indonesia and has a predominantly red body and beak, with orange eyes. The Chattering Lory also has green wings and thighs, yellow wing coverts, and a blue-tipped tail, making them extremely bright-colored and striking.
The Chattering Lory is the most popular type of lory and is named for its ability to “chatter” all day long. These birds also exhibit loud nasal whistles that are painful to human ears, making them unsuitable for homes with neighbors close by. Many owners find this bird to be particularly noisy at sunrise, mimicking and repeating household sounds.
4. Cardinal Lory
The Cardinal Lory is rarely seen in captivity. They’re native to tropical islands that lie east of Papua New Guinea, including the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon and Bougainville Islands. This species thrives in humid forests and coastal woodlands, living high in tree canopies.
Red feathers of varying shade make up most of the plumage of the Cardinal Lory. They have black feathers around their beaks and feet, offering a sharp contrast that’s unique to this species.
While the Cardinal Lory isn’t particularly noisy, they’re not quiet either. They have loud, piercing calls, but they don’t vocalize all the time. For those that are kept in captivity, these birds are friendly and full of personality.
5. Crimson Rosella
The Crimson Rosella is an extremely friendly bird, often found in aviaries due to its tendency to get along with other species. Males and females have distinctive features, making them easy to tell apart.
Male Crimson Rosellas are bright red with bright blue patches on their face, wings, and tails. Females are also bright red, but with dark green feathers in the middle of their tails.
While these birds are friendly to other birds, they aren’t particularly affectionate to people. They prefer not to be touched and can be nippy when they are.
6. Galah Cockatoo
Galah Cockatoos are light red or pink, with pinkish-white crests, grey wings, and tail feathers. These birds are also known as Rose-Breasted Cockatoos and are native to Australia.
Cockatoos are vocal birds known to scream and screech when they’re frightened or excited or want attention. They have the ability to imitate voices and make repetitive sounds.
Galahs are known for being attention grabbers that want to spend as much time with their owners as possible. They become depressed and even angry when they don’t get enough attention.
7. Female Eclectus
While male Eclectuses are bright green, females are bright red, with royal blue feathers on their chests and wings. The feathers on this bird are “fuzzy” and appear like fur, making them especially popular as pets. They get along with children but shouldn’t be kept in noisy environments because loud sounds can scare them.
The size of the Eclectus Parrot means they need a large amount of space. They should also be allowed plenty of out-of-cage exercise to remain happy and healthy.
8. Papuan King Parrot
Male Papuan King Parrots are exclusively red with bright green wings and a blue back. Females have similar coloring but have green heads and red and green “stripes” on their chests.
Novice parrot owners will benefit from owning a Papuan King Parrot. They are quiet, docile, and tame even in the wild. However, they don’t like to be over-handled, but to simply be in your company.
9. Moluccan King Parrot
The Moluccan King Parrot has predominantly red plumage, bright green wings, and a bright blue back. Males and females are indistinguishable based on looks and can only be differentiated by a DNA test.
At 15 inches in length, Moluccan Kings are medium-sized parrot species, but they still need plenty of activity outside their cages. They make ideal pets due to their quiet, gentle nature. If given the proper care, this bird forms strong bonds with its owner and enjoys spending time in their company.
Predation and habitat loss has led to significant declines in this bird population in the wild, and they are also becoming rare in captivity.
10. Purple-Naped Lory
A red body, black forehead, and yellow breast band give the Purple-Naped Lory a distinct look. Its tail is red and tipped with a dark burgundy color. These parrots can have either red or orange eyes and dark-gray eye-rings.
This species is endangered in the wild due to relentless trapping by illegal pet traders. While they are found in captivity, most of these birds were not domestically bred but wild-caught, making them difficult to keep as pets.
The Purple-Naped Lory is native to the islands of Seram and Ambon in Indonesia.
11. Red and Blue Lory
The Red and Blue Lory is similar to the Purple-Naped Lory, but it has more blue feathers. These birds are native to a single Indonesian island called Karakelang. This species is sexually monomorphic, meaning that males and females aren’t distinguishable by physical characteristics.
Red and Blue Lorys aren’t common as pets, and as their population declines, it has become illegal to trade the birds internationally. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped illegal trapping, and the wild population continues to become endangered.
12. Red and Green Macaw
Red and Green Macaws, also called Green-Winged Macaws, have red bodies with kaleidoscopic blue and green wings. These birds have a distinguishing red line around their eyes, with bare white skin. They are the second-largest parrot species in the world.
While their appearance makes them popular, this bird isn’t a suitable pet. Its powerful beak enables them to easily destroy household items, and they require a similar level of care as a small child.
13. Salmon-Crested Cockatoo
The Salmon-Crested or Moluccan Cockatoo is famous for its pink, fluffy, fuzzy feathers. These parrots have a crest that appears during excited or scared emotional events. While these birds are rare in the wild, they are extremely popular as pets.
Salmon-Crested Cockatoos can quickly become needy one-person birds. They get jealous of others and require high levels of socialization with other animals and people from a young age to avoid behavioral issues. They can be taught tricks and dances, which they will happily perform for your entertainment.
14. Red Lory
This bird species is almost entirely red, with blue and black markings on its back and wings. The Red Lory has brownish-red eyes and a red-orange beak.
These birds are highly entertaining and enjoy chatting with their owners. They love (and need) extensive social interaction and plenty of attention to prevent boredom. While they are small, they can become destructive if they’re not sufficiently stimulated, so they do require constant supervision.
The Red Lory is the most common Lory species kept in captivity due to its flamboyant personality and ability to keep people entertained.
15. Violet-Necked Lory
Violet-Necked Lorys are considered the most gentle of the Lory parrots. They are social birds that love to spend time with their owners.
They are also capable of mimicking words and sounds, but their vocabulary isn’t extensive. Since they aren’t loud, they’re suitable parrots for apartments.
16. Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaws may be the most recognized and most popular parrot species in the world. They have predominantly red plumage, light blue tail feathers, and yellow feathers on their upper wings. Some birds also have hints of gold on their tail flight feathers.
Scarlet Macaws are easily mistaken for Green-Winged Macaws because they are a similar size with similar coloring. Scarlet Macaws, however, are slightly smaller, at about 32 inches in length.
This species is commonly found licking the giant walls of the Peruvian salt licks. They appear in large flocks of bright red, creating a beautiful sight for anyone who happens to be nearby.
17. Western Rosella
The Western Rosella is the only Rosella parrot native to Australia. Its head and belly are bright red, while its back is black. It has bright yellow cheeks, which distinguishes it from other Rosella parrot species.
Western Rosellas are relatively quiet birds, but they possess melodic vocalizations that are soothing to listen to. They also whistle as a more urgent form of communication.
While they are independent birds, they don’t mind human connection and will happily let visitors approach them.
There are many red parrot species in the world. Some of them make excellent companion pets, while others are best admired in their natural habitat. Many of the parrots on this list are endangered due to habitat loss and illegal pet trading. If you are purchasing a red parrot, it’s important to find a reputable breeding program that ensures the health and welfare of its birds.
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Featured Image Credit by: Uwe Bergwitz, Shutterstock
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.