Parakeets are engaging little parrots that many folks enjoy having as pets. Pet parakeets originated from warm regions throughout the world, but some escaped their owners and adapted to life in the United States or Europe. Over 100 different species of parakeets exist in a variety of colors.
The budgerigar, or budgie, is the most common pet parakeet in the United States, the kind you will find in most pet shops. This busy little bird is about 7 inches long and comes in a variety of colors. Common budgies have a black barred pattern over the head and wings with a green body, although breeders have developed a variety of colors and patterns. These happy little birds thrive on attention and stimulation. Some may even learn to say a few words or learn to complete certain tasks.
The psittacula parakeets include several different species originating from Asia and Africa. These Old World parakeets include the Alexandrine parakeet, African ring-necked parakeet, the Indian ring-necked parakeet and the plum-headed parakeet. The Alexandrine parakeet is an independent bird and does not enjoy being handled as much as other parakeets, while the Indian ring-necked parakeet is very affectionate. The small plum-headed parakeet is very playful, but susceptible to cold and wet environments, while the African ringed-neck parakeet needs extra attention to keep from getting bored.
Monk parakeets, also known as Quaker parrots, were very popular pets in the 1960s. These 11-inch green and grey parakeets originated in South America, but a few escaped birds established themselves within the United States, some as far north as Chicago. In the wild, these parakeets build elaborate nests. It is this nest-building instinct that likely makes the monk parakeet particular about its cage. These birds may go to great lengths to arrange items in their cage. Also, the monk parakeet is known for its ability to talk.
Yellow-chevroned, white-winged, orange-chinned and grey-cheeked, the brotogeris parakeets are a bit less common as pets. Originally from South America, these small birds grow to be about 8 inches long with mostly green bodies and colors on the wings or chin. Brotogeris parakeets love to chatter and can be very energetic. Many prefer to be on or near their owners and can be awesome watch birds, calling out an alarm when anything is amiss.
Lineolated or Barred Parakeets
These friendly, 6-inch-long parakeets originate from Central and South America. The original color is green, but many beautiful color mutations have been developed by breeders. Because of their small size, quiet voice and bright colors, these little parakeets have recently become popular as pets. Lineolated parakeets quickly learn to talk and love to clown around, sometimes hanging upside down for fun.
Based in Michigan, Keri Gardner has been writing scientific journal articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in such journals as "Disability and Rehabilitation" and "Journal of Orthopaedic Research." She holds a Master of Science in comparative medicine and integrative biology from Michigan State University.