The parakeet, because it is not the female of the parrot

The parakeet, because it is not the female of the parrot

Definition : the parakeet, a migrant bird ?

In France, the presence of ring-necked parakeets dates back to the 1970s, when they escaped from a container at Orly airport in India. In the last ten years, the ring-necked parakeet has seriously become a European bird, with some 85,000 specimens recorded. In the Paris region, the Parc de Sceaux is even one of their favorite vacation spots.

The parakeet is nevertheless an exotic bird originating from Australia (it is the case of the undulated parakeet), India or South America.

Parakeets, representative species
In total, there are about sixty different species of parakeets: if the most important family is that of the psittacidae parakeets, the waved parakeet, the ring-necked parakeet (originating from Africa and Asia) and the calopsitte parakeet are the three other best known species. As you know, the “inseparable” parakeets come from Madagascar: they have inspired more than one eponymous movie title, starting with the musical with Frank Sinatra and Deborah Kerr.

But the mouse parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) or “widow parakeet”, a real little miniature parrot (there is no mistake) native to South America (Brazil and Argentina), is very appreciated for its liveliness and intelligence: it has an ability to speak in an understandable way (ah, the desire to have a bird that expresses itself like we do!) and bonds affectionately with its owner (that too, it is very sought after) For those who have never seen one, there are now some in parks in Spain, in the south of France and in Italy. In the north, it is rather the bird in a cage version, nothing having been reported yet on the Orly side!

Parakeet or parrot ?
Ah, the taxonomy! Would it be the sense of humor of this pet bird to remind us of its wild nature, that to tangle the boxes when we want to carefully classify it in a taxon?

In the XIXth century, the German naturalist and zoologist Johann Georg Wagler undertook, with the zoologist and explorer Johann Baptist von Spix who regularly went to Brazil, to classify a little all this nature. His predilection was for snakes and parakeets. We owe him “Monographia Psittacorum”, the first bible of the description of parrots and parakeets. With beautiful plates, including a magnificent description of the blue macaw.

Adopt a parakeet without worry
Admit that, for a parakeet specialist, it did not start well, the macaw being a parrot. And that complicated things a bit: “All birds with hooked beaks and zygodactyls (understand: two fingers in front and two fingers in the back) are part of the order Psittaciformes”. It is him who enacted it in 1830. Until then, everything is fine: knowing that the psittaciformes are subdivided into three big families, the psittacids, the cacatuids and the loriids.

Here, everything is still going well: the psittacids are the most numerous family (about 340 species) and the cacatuids the least numerous (25 species of cockatoos): by this probability alone, we say that we will not be mistaken to differentiate a budgie from a parrot.

How to differentiate a parakeet from a parrot?
And then, everyone knows it, the parrot is big, has a big beak, it is intelligent and knows how to speak. While the parakeet is small, it has a small beak, a small tail, it would be less intelligent (and even almost stupid) and would not know how to speak. On the other hand, it is easy to put in a cage. Do you follow me? From there to believe that the parakeet is the female of the parrot, there is only one step that you will not cross.

Because, it is precisely false. Not only is the parakeet not the female parrot, but the counter-examples to this demonstration are multiple: the macaw is indeed a parrot, except that it is small and even thin, and does not have a long tail. While the Grand-Alexander parakeet easily measures its 50 cm, and has a beak considered as one of the biggest in the avian world.

Can the parakeet talk?
As for talking or not, all psittaciformes have a syrinx, the organ that allows them to emit sounds. The difference? The species that have been tamed for a long time (the waved parakeet) have a greater ability to reproduce sounds close to human speech: look, the same learning process as us…

The moral? The parakeet is not the inferior of the parrot either. And, no matter in which box you put it: adopting a parakeet instead of a parrot is not a degradation!

Parakeets: what is their life expectancy?
And take care of them, they will give you back a good ten years, their average life expectancy. In fact, they will give it back to you, because one never adopts a budgie alone, but at least two: the budgie hates solitude to the point of dying, and the famous mirror where a budgie can see itself believing that it has an alter ego is a subterfuge that does not work.

The cage for parakeets? They fly horizontally!
Provide a spacious cage: even as a pet, its atavism has retained a certain idea of space. And choose a cage that is wider than it is tall: budgies fly horizontally!

It’s even better with bars, in the longitudinal direction: this detail is as important as if you imagined yourself climbing stairs with the steps placed vertically. Of course, don’t forget the perch in the middle.

A cage that you will have taken care to install before returning with your budgies under your wing. And that you open from time to time (if necessary, close your windows before), so that it comes to rest on your shoulder.

Food of the budgie
The famous dry bone
This is the distinctive sign of the parakeet cage: they make their beak on this source of calcium. What do they eat? Sprouts (preferably not dried, as they contain fewer vitamins) and, like you, fruits and vegetables every day.

Here is the list: for vegetables, spinach, salad, carrots, broccoli, peppers, cabbage, carrots. To avoid at all costs: avocado, beet leaves, raw potatoes.

For fruits: apples, which are the favorite fruit of parakeets, oranges, pears, grapes, bananas, melon, strawberries (yes!) and, of course, tropical fruits. But this is a different budget. In any case, avoid all stone fruits.
As for water, provide them with fresh water twice a day.

Do budgies scream?
The parakeet is not a solitary bird, it communicates. But it is above all a bird of prey, and concerned about the presence of predators: it needs to situate itself in its environment, by exchanging with the other parakeet that you have adopted. In case of danger, she emits the famous shrill sounds that can annoy you.

Be aware that if you are totally silent in front of your parakeets, they will perceive you as a lurking animal, ready to attack them: you should always talk to your parakeets! But if you come in and speak too loudly, the roles are reversed: you are their prey. And they’ll scream just as much at the prospect of snatching you alive.

To avoid prey-predator sequences, don’t stare at them silently, but don’t yell either. And, to calm them down, there’s nothing like low light.

Otherwise, a budgie makes a whole range of sounds that are not cries: it chirps, ritually when it gets up and goes to bed, when it grooms itself, and when it goes to the table. She may also do some vocalizing: she’s playing with you, even testing how you react.

And when she sings or doesn’t scream? There is body language. If she stretches her wings, everything is fine, she relaxes. As for her grooming, she did it with application, every day feather by feather, scratching her head to eliminate impurities and open the keratin tubes. Yes, a budgie is clean!

Finally, if it stands on one leg, do not disturb, it is about to fall asleep.

Reproduction of the budgie
Need to be in couple
Parakeets mate from the age of one year. To do this, the male and female need to know each other: no offspring between strangers! The easiest way is to adopt a couple that will reproduce. He also needs intimacy: don’t be a voyeur! And then, you will have planned a nest: no nest, no chick.

Adopt a budgie without worrying

One + one = how many ?
The budgie lays between four and six eggs. After about 20 days, the fertilized ones will hatch. Clean the cage meticulously, hygiene is important: do it when the budgie is feeding, so that it does not attack you with its beak. Do not hesitate to take the young birds in the hollow of your hand, your smell will not bother the budgie: it has a very bad sense of smell.

After three weeks, place a sprig of millet in the cage: the parakeet will nibble it and regurgitate it in the beak of its young.

By the way, are the chicks males or females? Come on, we help you, the males have a blue beak and the females, yellow.

How much does a budgie cost?
About thirty euros on average. But, since you adopt two, you should know that there are prices for a couple! The most expensive is the cage.