, Bourke's Rosy Parrot, or the Night Parrot is a widespread species in central Australia
. They live in desert, mallee
scrubland and mulga
woodland throughout the interior, but never near the coasts. They breed whenever rains have been good, in hollow trees.
They're very pretty but unobtrusive birds. The head and back are a soft grey, which on the chest and belly develops into a deep pink. The rump is a soft powder blue, tail and wing feathers pale grey, and shoulders a vivid mid blue. Beak, feet and eyes are black. One of their distinctive and most attractive features is the white eyeliner and eyebrow, giving the birds a permanent and extremely endearing expression of wide-eyed surprise. This eyeliner is the reverse of the black usually found in desert species of all types, most dramatically on cheetahs, to reduce glare.
Bourke's parrots are in fact semi-nocturnal, staying low and fairly stationary in patches of shrubs feeding during the day, and flying to water in the evening once the sun has gone down. They are most active and vocal from sunset until full darkness. This behaviour was first noted by the explorer Charles Sturt, who observed the birds staying in the bushes behind his camp during the day, and when flying to the waterhole at dusk many would collide with the strings of his tent.
They're small parrots, about 20cm long, half of that tail. Their voices, like the birds themselves, are small and pretty - soft, musical whistles and chirps during the day, at night a very high pitched but soft and pleasant twitter. They fly noisily, with rapid fluttering of the wings, and often quite erratically, changing course in the air almost like a butterfly. They're fairly timid birds, and typically get along very well with other species in aviaries, being peaceful and unobtrusive. They eat mainly grass seeds, with a few insects and some green shoots.