Bourke's parakeets (Neopsephotus bourkii) are wee parrots capable of growing to a maximum of 9 inches. They are abundant in their Australian homeland, but are also common elsewhere as pets. Bourke's parakeets usually possess bright, amiable dispositions. They have several other monikers, including "night parrot" and "pink-bellied parakeet."
Bourke's parakeets are compact birds that, at full maturity, usually weigh either a little below or a little above 1.5 ounces—males are just a tad bigger than females. The genders are alike in coloration for the most part, although the males are a little more brilliant. The upper portions of their bodies are predominantly brownish-gray, while their lower parts are pink. Their eyes are encircled in white. They also have elements of blue throughout their plumage, including on their wings and foreheads. They have deep brown eyes and gray beaks. Several coloration mutations of the species exist, including reddish-pink.
Commercial bird pellets make a strong foundation for a Bourke's parakeet diet. Seeds also work well—think millet and canary. However, birds who eat mostly seeds require additional nutritional supplementation, in vitamin form. Pet Bourke's parakeets also thrive with plenty of fresh produce, such as pears, grapes, lettuce, Swiss chard, apples and carrots. Keep fruit offerings to a minimum, because they're high in sugar. Other appropriate components of their meal plans are hard-boiled eggs and whole- or multigrain bread. Always speak to an avian veterinarian beforehand about any changes and introductions you wish to make to your bird's diet. In nature, these parrots consume a lot of shoots and grass seeds.
Since Bourke's parakeets are enthusiastic about flying, they do well in roomy aviaries rather than cages. Opt for an aviary that is at least 6 feet in length. Be sure to keep several tree branches inside the aviary, as Bourke's parakeets enjoy climbing. Swings also make strong additions to their aviaries. Bourke's parakeets adore bathing, and secure and large bathing areas inside their living environments are essential. Make sure their bathing water is always clean and cool.
Bourke's parakeets often make highly pleasant pets, especially if they have been hand-fed by humans. Hand-fed individuals usually are much more consistent and even in temperament when compared to others that were reared by their parents. Bourke's parakeets, on the whole, are usually slightly less sprightly than cockatiels.
The peaks in Bourke's parakeet activity occur when the sun comes up and again when the sun goes down each day. Although most pet birds seem to relax when the night falls, Bourke's parakeets are the total opposite. Darkness brings out the noisier nonstop chattering and chirruping sides of their behavior. They don't sound too different from budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), although their voices are a little higher. Unlike many other varieties of parrots, they do not talk or perform tricks. Despite their noise schedule, they are somewhat silent birds overall.
- The New Australian Parakeet Handbook; Matthew M. Vriends
- BirdChannel.com: Bourke's Parakeet—That Aussie Sparkle
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Neopsephotus bourkii
- BirdChannel.com: Bourke's Parakeet
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Neopsephotus bourkii
- World Parrot Trust: Bourke's Parrot: Care in Captivity
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images