South Australia and Scarlet-chested Parrots!

Tasmania was all too brief but I had to keep moving.  I flew to Adelaide to stage my next journey, focusing on the Scarlet-chested Parrot.  I did a lot of hand-wringing and pacing on this one.   Several aussie birders warned me that this was no easy species to find and I thought it unlikely I would see one. 


Far in the remote outback  desert of South Australia, I was following the directions of an old sight record and made a crucial error.  I took  a left when I should have turned right.   Realizing I had gone the wrong direction I back-tracked and parked my truck.  Then miraculously I spotted  a flash of color in the mulga scrub.   A scarlet chested male feeding!  


I had that surreal, this-just-cant-be-happening feeling as I watched this fantastic little parrot.  I tore myself away to run back to the vehicle for a tripod.  When I returned he was gone.  I was exasperated!   However I decided to circle around in the area and Bingo!  There he was again.  This time I was ready!



I traveled back to the area every day for 5 days to see if I could relocate the Scarlet-chest.  I wasnt disapointed.  My final day of filming was the best ever even though the hottest.  However I took precautions as this day was 47 deg. C.  The flies were so bad at one point it looked like I had a black watch-band on my wrist.  They were gathered at my shirtsleeve for the sweat and moisture.  A head-net was mandatory to keep sane as I filmed.


On my last day there a male came flying in out of nowhere.  Then another male came in! There was a brief scuffle as they fought for this favored shady spot.  Having won the battle  he dug down into the sand in the shade of a clump of Mulga to keep cool.  I filmed and watched him for a total of about 3 hours!  What an amazing opportunity and this trip was second only to my Princess adventure!


5 Responses to “South Australia and Scarlet-chested Parrots!”

  1. Ruud Stouten Says:

    Hello Sir,
    Can I have your story about the scarlet chested on my hobby site, I find the story very interessant.Sorry but my English is not so good, I `m from the netherlands in Europe.

    cheers Ruud

  2. polytelismedia Says:

    Hi Ruud:

    So glad you enjoyed the story about Scarlet-chested parrots. They are amazing birds! This was one of the most amazing parts of my whole journey and I simply assumed I would never encounter such a hard-to-find species.

    Yes you may publish my story about the Scarlet-chest on your site if you are so kind to create a link to my wordpress blog here at I will send you details in a private email. Again welcome to the blog and so glad you enjoyed the Scarlet-chest adventure!


  3. Neill Hayes Says:

    Hallo Don,
    You did very well to see Scarlet-chests and Princess parrots – had very good fortune, too! We lived in Alice Springs for 6 years and spent a lot of time looking for these birds, including at Tobin and Serpentine Lakes, Lake Amadeus, Canegrass and Gluepot, where they are seen. We always missed out! I assume you saw the Princess round the Tobin Lake area. Can you tell me where you saw the Scarlets? I know they are very mobile, but am always interested in where they have been seen. Incidentally, we once had a good close-up look at Swift parrots from the deck of our house in Merimbula, NSW, which is adjacent to a narrow belt of State forest. We sometimes see Gang-gangs and Glossy cockatoos from here too. We have also seen Ground parrots in a nearby area.

  4. Brandon Ogle Says:

    was their any zebra finches because they sometimes live in the stands of scrubs (known to Australians as mulga) or in spinifex (a kinda grass with wiry stems) where they take shelter from the hot sun,build their breeding nest or roost either among the foliage or in nests that are specially constructed for that purpose

    • polytelismedia Says:

      Hi Brandon: In South Australia I saw no Zebra finches at all and this area was seared with hot breezes and dry vegetation. I did see “heaps” of Zebra finches in SW Queensland however near Bowra Station. They were there everywhere water was. I also saw them frequently at watering places with both Budgies, Bourke’s parrots and diamond doves. Flocks were even in far remote Gibson Desert about 800 KM west of Alice Springs. Its always fascinating to hear that familiar nasal beep they give and see them flying wild in flocks. I found a few nests in thorny shrubs in an old pasture near Georgetown, QLD. Definitely a common little finch but never far from water it seemed.

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