Alexandrine parakeet (Complete Specie Profile)

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Ali Shahid

The Alexandrine Parakeet, scientifically named Psittacula eupatria, is a fascinating bird with historical ties to Alexander the Great. This parakeet, linked to the legendary emperor, was among the earliest to reach Europe and is believed to have been exported by Alexander himself. 

Part of the Psittaculidae family, it hails from South and Southeast Asia, spanning countries like India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. While its natural habitat is in Asia, feral populations have also been established in parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Hong Kong.

Being one of the larger parakeet species, it measures 56 to 62 cm from head to tail, weighing 200 to 300 g. Predominantly green, it features blue-grey on the cheeks and neck, a yellow-green abdomen, a red patch on the shoulders, and a sizable red beak with yellow tips. Notably, males display a black ring around their neck with blue and pink highlights, distinguishing them from females who lack this trait.

Renowned for both its beauty and intelligence, the Alexandrine Parakeet is a sought-after pet due to its exceptional talking abilities. Its playful demeanor, mimicry of human speech, and prolonged captivity lifespan contribute to its enduring popularity as a cherished companion.

General Overview of Alexandrine Parakeets

CategoryInformation
Scientific ClassificationPsittacula eupatria
NicknameAlexandrine Parakeet, Alexandrine Parrot
Physical TraitsMainly green plumage, blue-grey tint on cheeks and nape, yellowish underparts, red shoulder patch, and a prominent red beak with a yellow tip. The tail is green with blue at the end and a yellow tip.
Body SizeAmong the larger parakeet species, reaching lengths up to 62 cm and weights between 200 to 300 grams.
Expected LifespanCan live up to 30 years with appropriate care.
Natural DietFeeds on a mix of seeds, buds, fruits, and nuts in the wild. In captivity, they thrive on a diet of pellets, fresh produce, grains, and occasional seeds and nuts.
Natural HabitatOriginates from South and Southeast Asia, inhabiting forests, woodlands, farmlands, and mangroves. Known to form feral colonies in diverse global regions.
Social BehaviorExhibits high intelligence and playfulness, with a knack for mimicking sounds. Typically found in small to large flocks depending on food availability.
Reproductive PatternsMating season spans from November to April. Prefers nesting in hollow trees or self-made cavities. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs with an incubation period of about 24 days.
Compatibility as PetsFavored as pets for their engaging demeanor, longevity, and sociable nature. They demand regular interaction, a nutritious diet, and sufficient space for physical activity. May become loud or exhibit behavioral issues if not properly socialized.
Conservation StatusCurrently not listed under the Biosecurity Act as a prohibited or restricted invasive species.
TriviaThe species is historically linked to Alexander the Great, reflecting its status as a prized possession among historical figures of nobility and affluence.

Habitat and Behavior of Alexandrine Parakeet

The Alexandrine Parakeet is a species of bird native to India and Sri Lanka, exhibiting remarkable social behavior and adaptability.

In terms of habitat, these parakeets thrive in diverse environments like forests, woodlands, agricultural lands, and mangrove forests. They favor tropical and sub-tropical settings but can also adjust to human settlements. While they remain non-migratory, they have successfully established feral populations in several global regions, including Spain, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Hong Kong, and Australia.

Known for their diurnal and social nature, Alexandrine Parakeets typically form small flocks, occasionally joining larger groups in areas abundant with food or communal roosts. Their communication involves a range of deep, harsh calls, with loud shrieks when alarmed. In captivity, they showcase the ability to mimic human speech and convey emotions through body language, expressing contentment, excitement, anger, distress warnings, illness, and territorial defense.

The presence of feral Alexandrine Parakeet populations can significantly impact local ecosystems. These birds pose risks such as spreading diseases, damaging crops, outcompeting native species, and causing overpopulation-related damage to natural spaces. While crucial in their native environment for seed dispersal and pollination, their introduction to non-native areas can disrupt ecosystems, negatively affecting biodiversity and agriculture. To address these issues, recommendations include stricter regulations to prevent introductions, prompt responses to emerging populations, and improved management of established populations.

 Size and Appearance

The Alexandrine Parakeet, ranking among the largest parakeet species, boasts a size of up to 62 cm from head to tail and a weight ranging from 200 to 300 grams. Their vibrant plumage is predominantly green, complemented by a subtle blue-grey sheen on the cheeks and nape, a yellow-green abdomen, and a notable red patch on the shoulders. 

Characteristically, they feature a sizable red beak with yellow tips. The tail exhibits a green hue with hints of blue towards the end and a distinctive yellow tip. Notably, these birds display sexual dimorphism, with adult males sporting a black stripe on their lower cheeks and a pink band on their nape, distinguishing them from adult females who lack these markings.

Diet of Alexandrine Parakeet

In their natural surroundings, Alexandrine Parakeets adopt a herbivorous diet, indulging in a mix of wild and cultivated seeds, buds, fruits, and nuts. While foraging in forests and agricultural zones, they occasionally pose a challenge as pests by feeding on grain crops and ripe fruits.

For those under captive care, ensuring a well-rounded and diverse diet is paramount to their health and longevity. The recommended diet includes a foundation of fresh vegetables and fruits, serving as the core elements. 

Complementing this are high-quality pelleted diets to fulfill essential vitamin and mineral requirements. Incorporating healthy, cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley forms a substantial part of their nutrition. Seeds and nuts, while valuable for their fat content, should be provided in moderation. Proteins from thoroughly cooked meats can also be included, with individual preferences noted.

It’s crucial to understand that, although seeds and nuts are part of their natural diet, they should not dominate the captive diet due to their high-fat content. Instead, these items should be supplemented with a variety of other foods to guarantee a well-rounded nutrient intake.

A varied and balanced diet holds immense significance for the well-being of Alexandrine Parakeets. This approach prevents nutritional deficiencies and obesity, safeguarding against various health issues. A diet rich in fresh foods and limited in seeds and nuts can contribute to the longevity of these parrots, allowing them to thrive for up to 20 or 30 years. Moreover, a diverse diet provides mental stimulation, replicating the foraging behavior these birds exhibit in the wild.

Breeding and Reproduction of Alexandrine Parakeet

Breeding among Alexandrine Parakeets occurs within the timeframe of November to April in their native regions. In places like Britain, this process may commence as early as February or March. These parakeets typically choose tree hollows for nesting, though they might also utilize self-excavated tree holes or even cracks in buildings. For captive breeding, suitable nests measure 10″ square by 18″ to 24″ deep, constructed from inch-thick exterior plywood and reinforced strategically with metal.

Females lay 2 to 4 white, blunt oval-shaped eggs, ranging in size from 27 to 34 mm (1.1 to 1.3 in). The incubation period averages around 24 days, after which blind and helpless chicks emerge. Fledging occurs at approximately 7 weeks of age, and the young birds rely on parental care until they reach 3 to 4 months of age.

Alexandrine Parakeets achieve sexual maturity and display signs of breeding readiness at three to four years old. Full adult plumage is not attained until this age. Distinguishing features include a black neck ring and pink collar for males, while females lack these traits. Both genders possess maroon shoulder patches. During the breeding season, males engage in courtship and feeding activities, while females inspect available nesting boxes. Notably, a significant sign of breeding readiness in larger parrots is nest-building behavior, involving the gathering and shredding of materials to cushion the eggs. In a similar signal, a female budgie may squat on perches, extend her wings, and coo.

Alexandrine Parakeet as a Pet

The Alexandrine Parakeet stands out for its loyalty, playfulness, and impressive ability to mimic human speech, making it an excellent companion. These birds exhibit high affection towards their human “flock,” quickly becoming cherished members of the family. Known for their intelligence, they easily learn tricks and display acrobatic skills, showcasing their adaptability. Their mimicry extends to various sounds, making them capable imitators.

In terms of care, providing a spacious cage is essential to accommodate their size and long tail feathers. Ideally, the cage should be at least 3 feet tall and 2 feet long and wide, with bars spaced half an inch apart to ensure safety. Given their active nature, Alexandrine Parakeets need ample exercise, requiring a minimum of 3 to 4 hours outside the cage daily in a secure, “bird-proof” environment. Additionally, they have a fondness for water, necessitating a large water bath at least once a week and occasional misting.

Intelligence and sociability make Alexandrine Parakeets excellent candidates for training and socialization. The training process involves gentle movements and soothing tones to maintain the bird’s calmness. Starting with simple activities like walking nearby and offering treats gradually builds trust. Encouraging perching on a finger or perch can be rewarded with treats, reinforcing positive behaviors.

Socialization efforts include exposure to different sights and sounds, interactive play, and supervised interaction with other birds and pets. Patience, consistency, and respect for the bird’s personality and needs are crucial aspects of successful training and socialization. By incorporating these practices, Alexandrine Parakeets can become delightful and well-adjusted companions.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
High Intelligence: Known for their smartness and playful behavior, Alexandrine Parakeets can mimic sounds and learn tricks.Constant Interaction: These birds need daily mental stimulation and playtime, which can be demanding.
Sociable and Loyal: They form strong bonds with their human caregivers and are known for their loyalty.Noise Levels: They can be quite loud, which may be an issue in certain environments.
Active Lifestyle: They require plenty of exercise and enjoy at least 3 to 4 hours of playtime outside their cage daily.Aggression Risk: Without proper socialization, they can develop behavioral issues like aggression.
Longevity: With proper care, they can live up to 30 years.Specific Diet: They need a balanced and varied diet, including fresh vegetables, grains, and a high-quality pelleted diet.
Health Risks: They are prone to certain health conditions like Polyomavirus and psittacosis, requiring regular vet check-ups.
Space Needs: They need a large cage and a safe, open space for exercise to prevent damage to their long tail feathers.

Conservation Status of Alexandrine Parakeet

Alexandrine Parakeet currently holds a “Near Threatened” status according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), mainly attributed to a notable decline in its population within its native range. This decline is suspected to be moderately rapid, posing a significant concern for its conservation. The primary threats responsible for this status include habitat loss, persecution, and involvement in the illegal wildlife trade.

Habitat loss, primarily stemming from deforestation, stands out as a major threat. The conversion of forests into agricultural land and urban areas has led to the fragmentation of the Alexandrine Parakeet’s habitats. This species, known to inhabit various environments such as forests, woodlands, agricultural lands, and mangrove forests, faces considerable challenges, particularly in regions like Cambodia, where rapid land-use changes in lowlands have proven detrimental.

Persecution by farmers is another significant issue, as these parakeets, while foraging, can cause extensive damage to ripening fruits and grain crops.

Participation in the illegal wildlife trade further exacerbates the threat. The Alexandrine Parakeet’s popularity as a pet bird, with its playful demeanor, long lifespan in captivity, and ability to mimic human speech, makes it a sought-after species in the illegal market. According to CITES trade data, a substantial number, at least 57,772 Alexandrine Parakeets, were imported into countries outside their native range.

Conservation efforts are underway to address these threats. Initiatives like the FlyFree Initiative focus on enforcing wildlife laws, confiscating parrots from traders, and releasing them back into the wild. In some cases, local interventions, such as delaying the cutting of trees where Alexandrine Parakeets nest, have proven beneficial. Ringing events, as seen in Islamabad, aim to maintain a record of bird species in captivity. Despite these efforts, more comprehensive actions are necessary to tackle the persistent challenges of habitat loss, persecution, and illegal wildlife trade and ensure the survival of this species.

Places to Buy Alexandrine Parakeets and Prices

If you’re looking to bring an Alexandrine Parakeet into your home, there are several options for acquiring one in the United States. Check out these places:

  1. Alexandrine Aviary: This family-run aviary specializes in a variety of exotic parrots.
  2. Brenda’s Birds: Offering Alexandrine Parakeets at $2800.
  3. Parrot Stars: If you’re interested in male Alexandrine Ringneck Parakeets, you can find them here for $2,100.
  4. Morgan Birds Store: Alexandrine Ringneck Parakeets are available at this store for $700.
  5. Golden Cockatoo: You can find Alexandrine Parakeets for $899.99.

Prices for Alexandrine Parakeets can vary based on factors like age, health, and rarity. While the average range is $200 to $600, some sellers may list them at higher prices, reaching up to $2800 or $2100. It’s important to keep in mind that these prices only cover the bird itself, and additional expenses may arise for a cage, food, toys, and ongoing veterinary care. When making a purchase, consider visiting the breeder or store in person to assess the bird’s behavior and living conditions. It’s also advisable to have the bird checked by an avian veterinarian shortly after bringing it home to ensure its well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

In what ways do Indian ringer neck parakeets and Alexandrine parakeets differ from each other?

In contrast to ringneck parrots found in India, Alexandrine parrots have a bold maroon spot on their body which makes them stand out from one another.

These patches of color are named shoulder patches. A black ring is located around the neck of males, while a ring is missing from the necks of females.

Is Alexandrine’s parakeet capable of talking?

It is a well-known fact that Alexandrine parakeets are highly intelligent birds, known for their excellent talkative abilities, which is why they are very popular pets worldwide.

Is the Alexandrine Parakeet a loud bird?

I would consider the Alexandrine Parakeet to be an excellent pet bird, with the only drawbacks being the loud voice and a small cage. Both their temperaments and their striking appearance make them one of the most desirable pet birds.

Conclusion

The Alexandrine Parakeet is an enchanting bird that has captured the admiration of bird lovers worldwide. With its vibrant feathers, playful demeanor, and impressive ability to mimic human speech, this species, named after Alexander the Great, boasts a rich history, known for its loyalty and intelligence. While originally native to South and Southeast Asia, these parakeets have formed feral populations in various parts of the world.

In their natural habitat, Alexandrine Parakeets adapt to diverse surroundings and display intriguing social behaviors. Their diet comprises seeds, buds, fruits, and nuts. As pets, they need a balanced, varied diet, as well as ample space for exercise and interaction. Training and socialization are vital for fostering good behavior and affectionate companionship.

However, owning an Alexandrine Parakeet entails a significant commitment. These birds demand daily interaction, mental stimulation, and can live up to 20 or 30 years. Prospective owners must be ready to meet these needs and provide a loving and engaging environment.

Currently categorized as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Alexandrine Parakeets face threats like habitat loss, persecution, and illegal wildlife trade. Supporting conservation initiatives to protect their habitat is crucial. Responsible pet ownership, such as obtaining birds from reputable breeders and avoiding illegal trade, plays a vital role in these conservation efforts.

Author

  • Dr. Anees Ashraf

    He is a veterinarian by profession currently working in a vet clinic. He loves to treat and breed parrots to produce different mututions.

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