The turquoise parakeet is one of more than 30 species of parakeet native to Australia. Its scientific name is Neophema pulchella. Parakeets are a small subspecies of parrot that feature long tails, and the turquoise parakeet typically grows to be nearly 8 inches (20 cm) long. The turquoise parakeet has alternately been called the chestnut-shouldered parakeet, turquoisine grass parrot, or chestnut-shouldered grass parakeet. This species is considered vulnerable because its habitat has been reduced due to grazing and logging activities, as well as by wildfires.
A turquoise parakeet is brightly colored, ranging from green to turquoise or bright blue with yellow markings. Male birds have blue heads and faces with a patch of red on the wings, while females have muted colors and no red patches. Like all parakeets, this bird features a long tail and hooked bill. In the wild, the turquoise parakeet feeds on seeds, fruits, and flowers that grow near the ground. These birds tend to live near a water source, although they generally only drink water one time per day.
There are a total of 120 different types of parakeets. Two Australian species that are most commonly kept as exotic pets are cocketiels and budgerigars, often known as budgies. These are said to be intelligent and affectionate pets. Some types of parakeets have the ability to mimick human sounds, including words and whistles. Small breeds such as the turquoise parakeet can often live for 12 years or longer in captivity.
Parakeets are very social creatures and are often found in pairs in the wild. Many experts advise owning a pair of birds to avoid isolation that can lead to boredom or ill health. Owners should expect to spend at least half an hour of quality interaction with their parakeets every day, in addition to providing toys, perches, and items to chew within the cage. Pet parakeets also require a large cage as well as the opportunity for daily exercise outside of their cages. The cage should be placed off the floor at human eye level and away from drafts or direct sunlight.
As pets, parakeets require fresh water and food every day. In addition to a sufficient amount of bird pellets as their primary nutritional source, parakeets enjoy a variety of fresh foods, including mealworms and dandelions as well as mangoes, peanuts, corn, or apple slices. Some human foods are harmful to parakeets, such as grapefruit, rhubarb, cabbage, avocadoes, lemons, and dried fruit.