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What Is a Bourke Parakeet?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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The Bourke parakeet is a type of parakeet native to some parts of Australia. This small parakeet is naturally brown, but several color variations have been achieved in recent years through selective breeding. It is often considered an easy pet bird to keep, due to its mellow personality. Some of these birds may even be tame enough to take food from a person's hand, and they will readily breed in captivity.

Until recently, the scientific name of the Bourke parakeet was Neophema bourkii. The name was changed to Neopsephotus bourkii when scientists discovered this bird is unable to successfully mate with other species of the Neophema genus. This bird is also known as the Bourke's parakeet and the Bourke grass keet. It was named after a governor of South Wales during the 1800s, Sir Richard Bourke.

At one time, the Bourke parakeet was common in the wild in parts of Australia, particularly the central and southwestern regions. Due to various reasons, including human encroachment, this parakeet was believed to be endangered in Australia. Its numbers have since increased in the wild, and it is also a popular pet bird around the world.

In the wild, the Bourke parakeet is mostly brown. It has a pinkish abdomen and breast, and a subtle blue can also be seen on the wings and rump. Mature males typically have a brighter blue hue on their body, and they also have a noticeable blue spot above their beaks.

As a pet, the Bourke parakeet can be found in a variety of colors. The rosie Bourke parakeet, which has mostly light to dark pink feathers, is a common mutation. These birds may also be mostly white, blue, or cream colored. To achieve these variations, breeders will attempt to mate two birds with a high concentration of one color. For example, two birds with more red on their plumage are more likely to produce offspring that is mostly red.

Bourke parakeets with unusual color mutations are usually highly prized in the pet trade. Compared to other pet birds, the Bourke parakeet is considered relatively easy to care for. It is usually somewhat small for a parakeet, and it will rarely grow more than 9 inches (23 centimeters) in length.

The Bourke parakeet also has a pleasant disposition compared to some other pet parakeets. These birds are usually more active in the evening, particularly around dusk, but they are generally calm and quiet for the most part. They also get along well with other birds and their human companions. Some Bourke parakeets may even allow humans to hand feed them.

Another reason this bird is popular as a pet is that it breeds readily in captivity. Females will usually lay three to six eggs in a clutch and incubate them for about 19 days. While she incubaties the eggs and takes care of the chicks, the male will bring her food.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Bourke Parakeet?

A Bourke Parakeet is a small, colorful bird native to Australia, known for its gentle and docile nature. It has a distinctive pinkish-brown plumage with blue accents on the wings and a peaceful demeanor, making it a popular choice for avian enthusiasts. They are relatively low-maintenance pets that thrive in calm environments.

What is the natural habitat of the Bourke Parakeet?

Bourke Parakeets are found in the arid and semi-arid regions of central and southern Australia. They prefer open woodlands, grasslands, and scrublands where they can forage for seeds, grains, and insects. Their habitat choice reflects their adaptability to dry conditions and their ability to find food and water in challenging environments.

How long do Bourke Parakeets live?

Bourke Parakeets have a lifespan that can extend up to 15 years with proper care. Factors such as diet, exercise, mental stimulation, and veterinary care contribute to their longevity. Providing a spacious cage, a balanced diet, and regular health check-ups can help ensure a long and healthy life for these birds.

What do Bourke Parakeets eat?

In the wild, Bourke Parakeets primarily feed on seeds, grains, and occasional insects. In captivity, their diet should consist of a high-quality seed mix, fresh fruits, and vegetables to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. It's important to provide a variety of foods to mimic their natural foraging behavior and promote good health.

Are Bourke Parakeets good for beginners?

Yes, Bourke Parakeets are excellent for beginners due to their calm and friendly nature. They are less demanding than some other parrot species and do not require constant attention. However, like all pets, they need a commitment to their care, including a proper diet, social interaction, and a suitable living environment.

Can Bourke Parakeets be kept with other bird species?

Bourke Parakeets are known for their peaceful temperament, which often allows them to be housed with other non-aggressive bird species. However, careful introduction and monitoring are essential to ensure compatibility and prevent territorial disputes. It's always best to consult with an avian specialist before introducing new birds to each other's company.

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