The Australian Ringneck - Barnardius zonarius - is found as several subspecies, each with a different local name. In the past this single species has been considered to be two or four separate species. Subspecies differ in appearance, calls and other details including preferred habitat. All versions are mainly green with a yellow collar and long, tapering tails. There is hybridisation along the boundary between subspecies so characteristics are spread across boundaries. Reaches 34 to 38 centimetres in length.
zonarius- "Port Lincoln Parrot" has a black head, dark blue cheeks, bright yellow belly and deep green chest. Blue in wings and tail. Found in Northern Territory, central and western South Australia, southern two-thirds of Western Australia, except the south-west. Often feeds on the ground on native seeds and plants or on spilled grain in paddocks. Lives in drier regions including woodlands, mallee, mulga, spinifex, especially tree-lined watercourses, roadsides and farm trees. Thrives on farmlands in the Western Australian wheat belt. Common in the east, abundant in Western Australia.
barnardi - "Mallee Ringneck" with green head, blue cheeks; red frontal band, yellow collar, dark blue mantle. Orange-yellow lower breast. Feeds in trees and on the ground on seeds and flowers. Flies low and fast near the ground, swooping up with tail spread to alight. Found southern Queensland, New South Wales, northern Victoria, eastern South Australia. Lives in mallee, mulga scrub, eucalyptus woodland, river gums along watercourses, farmland with scattered trees. Sedentary or locally nomadic; common but reduced in some areas by clearing.
semitorquatus - "Twenty-eight Parrot" is darker green, black head, red frontal band, green breast, belly paler green with yellow baring. Slightly larger. Hybridizes with "Port Lincoln Parrot" produces gradual changes in the belly colouring to become yellow with distance inland. Variation in colouring has led to the name "Twenty-eight Parrot" being used in Western Australia for semitorquatus, zonarius and for occidentalis found in the Pilbara. Lives in the heavier forests of south west Western Australia. Area used by this subspecies is being reduced by clearing allowing the "Port Lincoln Parrot" to spread into areas previously occupied exclusively by the "Twenty-eight Parrot".
occidentalis - Pilbara birds are sometimes considered to be a separate subspecies which is slightly smaller and paler; this subspecies lacks a common name.