Full Description, History, and Care of the Bourke's Parakeet

Bourke's parakeet sitting on a tree branch.

For people who are unfamiliar with or parrots, Bourke's parakeets make an ideal first bird because they are quiet and capable of amusing themselves. They are peaceful birds who make good apartment pets and are equally at home in individual cages or tiny aviaries, where they make wonderful companions for other Bourke's parakeets as well as finches and cockatiels. Protect delicate Bourke's parakeets from bigger, more aggressive birds.

Species Overview

Common Names: Bourke's parrots, Bourke's parakeet, Bourkies, blue-vented parrot, sundown parrot, and pink-bellied parrot

Scientific Name: Neopsephotus bourkii

Adult Size: 7 to 8 inches

Life Expectancy: May live as long as 25 years

Origin and History

The migratory Bourke's parakeet is a native of Australia. Most of the continent, including Queensland, New South Wales, and central, southern, and western Australia, is where they may be found. They dwell in natural cypress and eucalyptus woods in addition to the dry plains, which are their primary habitat. Urban environments are home to wild birds as well.

Sir Richard Bourke, who oversaw Australia's New South Wales region from 1831 to 1837, is honored by the naming of these birds. It was initially categorized as belonging to the Neophema genus, but in the 1990s, it was moved to the Neopsephotus genus.

Successful captive breeding programs have made Bourke's parakeets popular pets in homes all over the world. This species is not threatened; wild populations seem to be growing.

Temperament

Known as an adorable, gentle, and good-natured species, Bourke's parakeets make good pets when hand-fed as babies, which allows them to bond with their human caretakers.

In contrast to other parrot species, these clever birds are also calm and peaceful. Expect to frequently have a visitor riding on your shoulder because they are affectionate and like company. Additionally, they experience bursts of energy and like soaring.

Speech and Vocalizations

Peak activity often happens shortly after sunrise and sunset, when it can get a little noisy but not to an obtrusive degree. Comparing these parrots to other parrots, they are often very birds. Bourke's parakeets don't communicate or do tricks as other parrots do.

Bourke's Parakeet Colors and Markings

Bourke's parakeets are nevertheless highly attractive despite not having colors that pop as much as those of other species. Their feathers have a dusty brown colour with pink coverings on the chest and abdomen and blue tail feathers. Each feather's contour is enhanced by a lighter color on the backs of their wings, which have a deeper brownish-gray colour.

The sexual dimorphism of the sexes allows for visual differentiation between them. The adult female has little to no blue on her forehead, compared to the adult man who has a blue forehead. Additionally, the male is often a little bit bigger than the female.

Several color mutations are possible with Bourke's parakeets. One of the most popular is the rosy Bourke's parakeet, which is a bright shade of pink.

Caring for Bourke's Parakeets

Since these birds like flying, spacious aviaries are preferable to cages for them. A decent aviary has many tree branches for the birds to climb and is at least 6 feet long.

These birds like horizontal flying, so if an aviary is not a feasible option, get the biggest cage you can with proportions that are wider than they are tall. A cage must be at least three feet long, one and a half feet broad, and one and a half feet high. Although they may survive on their own, this bird does best in a cage with another Bourke's parakeet. If left alone, talk to it every day to prevent loneliness. Swings are a great addition to a cage or aviary.

Because Bourke's parakeets love to swim, keep swimming pools within the cage or aviary. Ensure that the water you use to bathe is clean and fresh. The bird will appreciate being sprayed with warm water, so you may do that too.

The Bourke's parakeet is one of the most sociable parrot species. Your bird needs at least two hours of engagement and training every day, while it is less demanding than some other species.

Common Health Problems

The Bourke's parakeet, like other parrot species, is susceptible to psittacosis, which may be transmitted between birds and people. Respiratory issues are brought on by this bacterial condition, which is curable with medications. Parakeets are susceptible to a variety of viruses that can harm them and cause pneumonia, diarrhea, and feather issues.

Parakeets are also prone to sinus congestion caused by the Aspergillus fungus; proper nutrition and hygiene will prevent this problem.

Several parasites can affect parakeets. Intestinal parasites may cause a bird to lose weight and become depressed, while external mites and lice will cause the bird to scratch and lose feathers.

Diet and Nutrition

As grass parakeets, Bourke's parakeets hunt for food on the plains and in the fields. The diet of wild Bourke's parakeets consists mostly of seed, grasses, and other plant materials, with the occasional addition of fruits, berries, insects, and other sorts of food.

A daily balanced feed is required for Bourke's parakeets kept in captivity. This bird will consume up to a tablespoon of budgie- and similar-sized bird-specific tiny parrot seed mix together with a range of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Exercise

Although Bourke's parakeets are less energetic than most other parakeets, they nevertheless require two to three hours each day in a supervised play area outside of their cage. Provide a safe flying habitat free of other animals, ceiling fans, and open doors or windows since these birds like doing lengthy horizontal flights.

Your Bourke's parakeet will enjoy plenty of toys. Offer commercial plastic toys with bells and bright colors and everyday household items to gnaw on, such as cardboard egg cartons.

Pros
  • Calm, gentle, even-tempered

  • Quiet, good species for owners with close neighbors

  • Can live with a few other bird species

Cons
  • Does not talk or perform tricks

  • Requires at least 2 to 3 hours of exercise, mental stimulation, or a larger cage for horizontal flying needs

Where to Adopt or Buy a Bourke's Parakeet

Pet stores seldom carry Bourke's parakeets; instead, you'll need to look for a breeder. Unlike other, more challenging pet birds, owners of these birds do not abandon them as frequently. However, you should still get in touch with rescue groups and animal shelters to check if there are any birds up for adoption.

Breeders sell Bourke's parakeets in the range of $100 to $300. Rescues, adoption organizations, and breeders where you can find Bourke's parakeets include:

  • Burge Bird Rescue
  • Bird Breeders
  • Birds Now

Verify that the bird you intend to bring home is awake, engaged, and has all the characteristics of a healthy bird, including bright eyes, tidy feathers, and a full crop.

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

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CITATION

"Psittacosis: Causes, How It Spreads, and People at Increased Risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" ;

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