Facts About the Lovable Parakeet

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Parakeets are small to medium sized birds from the parrot family. They have long tapered tail feathers. There are many different types of parakeets. They come in all different colours. Parakeets are flock birds. They are social birds. In captivity they are playful and bond with their human companions. These intelligent birds are very popular as pets in households all over the world.

FACT 1: Parakeets can be found world- wide. They are endemic to Australia, India, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Americas. They are usually found in the tropical areas, but as a non native species parakeet populations are found in colder climates.

FACT 2: The budgerigar is the North American Parakeet. In North America it is usually referred to as the parakeet, but it is actually only one of several dozens of species of birds in the parakeet family. This tiny little bird is only about 18cm long and weighs as little as 25 grams. Despite its diminutive size it is one of the most active and popular pet birds in the USA.

FACT 3: The budgerigar is affectionately referred to as the ‘budgie’ and is often mistakenly called a love bird. Love birds are actually small parrots, not parakeets. Budgerigars occur in the wild in Australia, the land of their origin. The estimated population of wild budgerigar in Australia is 5 million. Both sexes have bright vibrant colours. Caged budgies come in a wide range of colours and patterns, brought about by carefully planned hybridization.

FACT 4: Budgerigars appeared on earth long before humans. The first humans to come into contact with them were probably the Aborigines of Australia. The bird was first recorded in 1805 by English zoologist and botanist, George Shaw. In 1840 the first budgie was brought to England by ornithologist John Gould. The name budgerigar could have originated from the Aborigine word betchegara meaning ‘good to eat. It could also be derived from the Australian slang words ‘bugery’ meaning ‘good’ and ‘gar’ meaning cockatoo.

FACT 5: The scientific name for the budgerigar is Melopsittacus undulates. It was coined by John Gould. Melopsittacus is a Greek word meaning melodious parrot and undulates is Latin for wave- patterned. The name is then melodious wave patterned parrot, which perfectly describes the budgerigar.

FACT 6: Budgies are dimorphic. The sex can be determined by the colour of the plumage. The male and female can be distinguished by the ceres. There cere is the part of the face that contains the nostrils. It is bluish green in the males and brownish or tan in the females.

FACT 7: Another very popular pet parakeet is the Indian Ring neck. This bird is commonly referred to as a parrot, but is classified as a parakeet because of its small size. The Indian Ring neck is about 16” long. It for about 30 years though Ring necks over the age of 50are not unheard of.

FACT 8: The Indian Ring neck is also dimorphic. Both sexes are a pastel green colour, and both have bright red beaks. The male is distinguished from the female by the rose red ring around its neck.

FACT 9: It is commonly thought that the Indian Ring neck is a tropical bird. However the population of Ring necks in the UK is on the rise. Being fruit berry and seed eaters they often attack farm produce and may soon be considered pests. Some sources attribute their ability to adapt to the London climate to the fact that this species originated in the foothills of the Himalaya. However other sources cite Sri Lanka as the original home of the Ring neck.

FACT 10: Populations of introduced Ring necks are found all over the world. They can be spotted in the wild in South America, Australia, Japan, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the USA.

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