Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by Ali Shahid
The mustache parakeets belong to the family of parrots, or the Psittacidae, which has been dubbed as the most attractive, intelligent, and playful bird in the world today. They can be taught to talk and are entertaining to watch.
Mustached parakeets also known as red-breasted parakeets are generally not cuddly, as opposed to some pet birds. However, they like human attention and react to it. They make wonderful pets if they’re handled daily and socialized at an early age.
It is scientifically called Psittacula alexandri. A group of wild birds, known as red-breasted parakeets, belong to the same genus as the pet birds. Currently, most of them live in Southeast Asia and Indonesia.
Wild populations need to be protected to ensure the survival of the species. In some parts of its range, the red-breasted parakeet is considered an endangered species. The IUCN has classified the species as a near-threatened one as a whole.
With its adaptability and habitat expansion, the moustached parakeet’s range is expanding throughout Southeast Asia. The birds can be seen in cities and urban areas as well as in woodlands and mountains.
Bird flocks can form of 60 or more birds, and they can be deafeningly loud when a large group gathers. Birds give loud warning calls when danger is approaching. Wildlife trade and habitat destruction threaten bird populations in the wild.
Throughout the islands in Indonesia and its surrounding area, there are several different subspecies of birds, some of which are endangered.
Mustache Parakeets are colorful, medium-sized parrots that measure from 13 to 16 inches (33 to 40 cm) in length, and weigh around 100 to 130 grams. The most distinguishing characteristic of the creature is the moustache-like markings on the side of its face, which resemble the mane of a moustache.
Males can often be found with red beaks, while females can usually be found with black beaks.
The Male has an attractive shape, with a slim body, a long and thin tail, green plumage, and a gray head, along with a red bill and a few distinctive markings that make it stand out from its female and juvenile counterparts.
He has a pretty bluish tint to his head and the area around his eyes is greenish. The forehead of the bird is marked by a thin line, and the cheeks by a wide pattern.
Birds’ breasts, throats, and upper abdomens are all decorated with pink to salmon-colored feathers reaching halfway to their vents. Throughout the head area of the female hen, there is a bluish tint.
It usually has a duller pink color on its chest and the middle tail feathers above its tail are shorter than what they are on males.
Those who are in the immature stages of the lifecycle have shorter tails and lighter pink bills, as well as incomplete cheek stripes, which help to identify them.
When hand-fed and properly socialized as babies, moustached parakeets can be very affectionate pets. In addition to their activity and social natures, they enjoy spending time with their owners by playing games and spending time with them.
The owners of these parakeets may report that their birds behave in a bossy or needy manner, depending on their temperament. When they are ignored, their behavior may become agitated and aggressive.
There is no denying that they are a little more relaxed than Indian ringneck parakeets, but they are still quite boisterous. Unlike most parakeets, moustached parakeets prefer to be left alone rather than cuddled, but they will accept some gentle petting near their necks.
You may find that it will warm to more cuddling if it is handled often and gently. Some owners report these parakeets are very aggressive, even though they are highly intelligent and easy to train.
The reason for such behavior is that the bird is not socialized properly. These parakeet acts out toward other people and animals while bonding strongly to a particular person.
In the adolescent stages of their lives, these parrots exhibit the same aggressive behavior as other Asian species, of which biting and marking territory are just a few examples.
In light of this, and because of the fact they require extra attention, their status as a “beginner” bird might not be that great, regardless of what some potential birders think.
The birds will provide their owners with years of the comical company if they are properly cared for and known as excellent talkers.
One of the best things about this species of parrot is that it can talk a lot. They are known for their excellent communication skills. Owners get this wrong a lot of times, and it causes them to be very unhappy.
Just because they can talk does not mean they need to talk. In the long run, they might not be able to talk, even if they learn how to do so. Before getting a Moustache Parakeet, owners should ensure they know what they are doing before their purchase.
With the right kind of training, and with a lot of patience on the owner’s part, these pets can become excellent talkers. Although Mustache Parakeets are a lot calmer than other parrots, they are also quite energetic.
Unlike other parrots, they do not make much noise compared to other birds. Therefore, they can easily go unnoticed in a house.
Caring for a Moustached Parakeet
A moustached parakeet is rarer than other typical pet birds, and it is not a common sighting. Specialty breeders often sell them. A 3-foot by 2-foot by 3-foot macaw cage is the minimum requirement.
A cage should not be shared by two individuals, and different genders can also cause a problem if they are in the cage with each other.
Normally, females are more dominant than males. As you can imagine, these birds are very curious about what you are doing and always want to know what is going on. As an explorer, they like to learn more about the world around them.
If you leave them unattended outside their cages, they might end up in parts of your home that you do not want them to be. A perch that is near the nest is the best thing you can do to bring the bird back to it whenever it wanders.
This bird enjoys perching on its shoulders and wants to be part of the action. The moustached parakeet may not be the best choice for you if you are looking for a pet for the whole family-it’s more suited to a single individual.
On the other hand, if you are a single individual or otherwise plan to take care of this bird on your own, you might find him or her to be one of the most loyal companions you’ve ever known.
Mustached Parakeets Diet
Farmers who lose hectares of crops to these birds regard the Red-breasted Parakeets as pests rather than pets because of the birds’ diet. In addition, Moustache Parakeets, when they live in captivity, enjoy a wide spectrum of diets.
They do better when they are fed both fresh and raw foods such as oranges, apples, strawberries, broccoli, and carrots, as opposed to some birds that prefer only seeds and grains. Additionally, hard-boiled eggs are a good source of protein.
Seeds and grains only contain a part of the nutrient they need, so feed them in small portions. Seeds contain a lot of fat. You should avoid feeding your bird too many seeds, which can make it fat and sickly.
It is also like a sweet potato cooked in its skin. Rice and beans can also be fed. Corn is also one of their favorites, and they especially like it on the cob after it has been cooked for a short period.
When you are offering your bird’s farm products, ensure that they are pesticide-free, as well as wash the produce thoroughly before offering it to your birds.
This species of parrot is commonly bred in captivity by bird breeders. They are about 2-3 years old when they reach maturity. Young birds should be paired together. It is not uncommon for the female to dominate the male.
In late winter, the males begin courting the female hens and the female hens beg them to feed them. In the wild, the breeding season is between December and April, but this varies according to weather and altitude.
Hollow logs with thick walls can be used as nest boxes. In case of non-availability, you can use a commercial nesting box. As they are strong, straight flyers, they need long aviaries. Their breeding area should be protected.
The aviary should have an entry door at the other end. For the breeding season, it is recommended to install double-wire between aviaries to prevent biting between birds. The eggs are laid early in the spring and hatch after 22 days of incubation.
In 52 days, the young fly. The aviary front should be covered with palm fronds, while the back should be covered with leafy branches to keep the fledging young from falling and hitting the walls.
In the absence of this, many young birds will suffer severe head injuries or scalp damage. Young birds cannot control their flight as they take off.
You can leave the young with the parents for 9 months, but you must remove them as the parents will breed again soon. Weaning occurs around 12 to 14 weeks of age.
Common Health Problems
These little birds are hardy because they don’t get bacterial infections or parrot fever. Please seek veterinary help if your bird exhibits any of the following symptoms.
- Aspergillosis causes respiratory problems due to this fungus infection. Microscopic spores called aspergillus fungi are responsible for causing the disease. Usually, they are picked up from the ground, as they are not passed from one bird to the next. Early signs of respiratory distress are difficult to spot, so you should look for signs of trouble breathing.
- Parakeets and other bird species may also be infected by Polyoma Polyomavirus. Infection with this virus often leads to death among young birds. It is accessible for screening, but treatment is not available.
- The opossum’s feces carry bugs that transmit sarcocystosis to captive birds. Birds sharing the same food and environment are at risk for the disease even if they do not pass it from bird to bird. In a few hours, death may occur due to this parasite. Some of the symptoms of this parasite include respiratory problems, as well as excessive drinking of water.
- The moustached parakeet is an active bird, both in nature and in captivity. The cages should have enough space for this bird to climb, swing, and play. This parakeet needs supervised outdoor playtime at least four hours per day in a safe, “bird-proofed” area.
- Those who don’t have much time to spend with their pets may not find them the right pet. Parakeets need toys to be happy and keep them away from trouble.
- Provide your bird with a large cage that features ladders, swings, and chew toys to keep him or her interested and entertained.
- Gender Identification
- While Moustached Parakeets all have greenish-blue plumage on their tails, they are dimorphic, which means they can be easily distinguished by looking at them.
- On the males, the tail feathers are longer and more colorful, the breasts are bright pink, and the beak is orange with a yellow tip.
- On the other hand, females have a longer tails, softer breasts, and black beaks as opposed to males.
- From Where to Get a Moustached Parakeet
- Prices for moustached parakeets range from $500 to $1000, depending on the breeder’s reputation, availability, and history. Make sure you deal with a reputable breeder whose facility is open to inspection before you buy.
- Make sure the birds are happy and well adjusted by speaking to former customers. Parakeets belonging to this species can be found in shelters.
- Most owners surrender their parakeets either because they did not realize how much time it would take to raise one, the bird has displayed unusual behavior, or they have not raised it properly.
The moustached parakeet is not a particularly noisy bird, but rather quite talkative. This species requires a lot of time and exercise and is better suited to an individual owner due to its tendency not to form bonds with more than one person at a time.
This parakeet could be a good choice if you are an experienced parakeet owner and want a friendly, chatty bird that usually enjoys your company.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.