Historical information

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.

The red-and green Australian King-Parrot is seldom seen flying above the tree tops of the dense forests which it inhabits — it prefers to fly below tree level, weaving in and out through the tree trunks instead. When they are disturbed by a person, they usually fly off with a harsh screech, and often do not land until they are lost to view. Their flight is swift and strong, characterised by deep, rhythmic wing-beats and regularly punctuated with rapid twists and turns.


This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Physical description

Male Australian King-Parrots are the only Australian parrots with a completely red head. Females are similar to males except that they have a completely green head and breast. Both sexes have a red belly and a green back, with green wings and a long green tail. King parrots are normally encountered in pairs or family groups.

This particular specimen has duller colour and appears more orange with a misshapen head

Inscriptions & markings

National Museum Victoria / King Parrot / Aprosmietus W5435 / Gris (recht)