Red Rump Parakeets (Complete Specie Profile )

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Ali Shahid

We are going to take you on an exciting journey into the magical world of Red Rump Parakeets (Psephotus haematonotus). These beautiful birds go by many different names like Red-rumped Parakeet, Red-backed Parrot, and Red Rump Parrot.

Picture this: they hail from the vast open grasslands and gently wooded plains of south-eastern Australia, painting a vivid tapestry in the heart of Australian wildlife. Now, imagine their striking presence with a distinct red rump, especially evident in the charming males, and their incredible ability to adapt to different surroundings.

It is not just a treat for bird enthusiasts, but these feathered wonders are becoming beloved companions for those who adore pets. Come along as we dive into the lives of these vibrant parrots, exploring their unique qualities and the sheer beauty they bring to the avian world. Get ready for an emotional journey filled with wonder and admiration!

CategoryDetails
Scientific NamePsephotus haematonotus
Common NamesRed-rumped Parakeet, Red-Backed Parrot, Red Rump Parrot, Grass Parrot
OriginSouth-eastern Australia
HabitatOpen grasslands, places near rivers or streams, and lightly timbered plains with elevations of up to 3000 ft
SizeApproximately 27-28 centimeters (10.5-11 inches) long, with half of it being the tail
WeightBetween 55-85 grams (1.9-3 ounces)
AppearanceMales: bright emerald green with yellow underparts, blue wings, and a red rump. Females: less vibrant, with pale olive underparts, dull green wings, and lack the characteristic red rump found in males
Social StructureTypically found in pairs or small flocks
TemperamentEnergetic, playful, and can be affectionate, but may not be compatible with other bird species
VocalizationsSoft calls and chirps, not known for mimicking human speech
LifespanCan live between 15 and 32 years in human care
Conservation StatusListed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
BreedingKnown to breed easily in captivity if provided with necessary flight space and a large nesting box. The female lays 3-7 eggs that are brooded for about 20 days and hatch after a month
DietMainly consists of seeds, leafy green vegetation, and occasionally fruits
PriceCommon varieties usually cost between $20 and $50, while rarer versions and different color mutations can cost up to $800. Most sources suggest a price range of $150 to $500
Places to BuyBrenda’s Birds, BirdsNow, New York Bird Supply, KSL Classifieds, AmericanListed, ParrotCrown, HereBird

Origin and History

Renowned ornithologist John Gould first documented the Red-rumped Parakeet in 1838 after discovering a specimen in New South Wales, Australia. Gould, recognizing its distinct feature, named it Platycercus haematonotus, emphasizing the vibrant red rump. Indigenous to Australia for thousands of years, these parakeets thrive predominantly in the southeast, notably in the Murray-Darling Basin. 

Measuring around 28 cm (11 in) in length, the male displays an eye-catching emerald green body adorned with a conspicuous red spot on the lower back. In contrast, the female features an olive green plumage with darker wing shades.

These charming parakeets are renowned for their melodious singing, earning them the moniker “singsittich” in German, meaning “song parrot.” Often spotted in pairs or flocks in open landscapes with water access, they steer clear of coastal and heavily wooded areas, showcasing remarkable adaptability in suburban parks and gardens.

Feeding mainly on small seeds from grasses and cultivated crops, the Red-rumped Parakeet’s diet reflects its resourcefulness. During the breeding season, from August to January, the female diligently guards three to six eggs while the attentive male provides nourishment. Despite being a protected species in Australia, efforts abroad, like the United States, have established breeding programs due to their popularity as pets. In captivity, these delightful parakeets can thrive for over 30 years, exuding good-natured, playful energy. However, to prevent boredom and potential aggression during breeding, they require ample stimulation.

Physical Characteristics

Red-rumped parakeets are medium-sized parrots, measuring around 27-28 centimeters (10.5-11 inches) in length, with nearly half of that length comprised of their tail. Their slender bodies weigh between 55-85 grams (1.9-3 ounces). This species showcases sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females exhibit distinct physical traits.

Distinguished by vibrant emerald green plumage, yellow underparts, blue wings, and upper back highlights, male red-rumped parakeets steal the spotlight. The standout feature is their red rump, from which the species derives its name. In contrast, females sport less vivid colors, with a dull green back and wings, olive underparts, and dark blue wingtips. Notably, the female lacks the striking red rump characteristic of the males.

Both genders share flesh-colored legs and a black beak, but the males’ bright emerald green coloring contrasts with the more subdued olive green hues of the females. Visual sexing in adults becomes simple due to the females’ green rump. However, distinguishing young males, who lack the red patch, requires DNA testing.

Mutations of Red Rump Parakeets

Red Rump Parakeets exhibit various mutations cultivated through aviculture, giving rise to diverse colorations and patterns in their plumage. Some prevalent mutations include:

  1. Blue: Inducing a blue hue in the bird’s plumage.
  2. Opaline: Creating a distinct color pattern different from the normal wild type.
  3. Cinnamon: Resulting in a cinnamon-colored plumage.
  4. Lutino: Presenting a yellow or creamish coloration.
  5. Pied: Featuring patches of white or yellow feathers amidst the normal coloration.
  6. Platinum: A newer mutation still under study.
  7. Lime: Another recent mutation is currently being researched.

These mutations can be dominant, recessive, or sex-linked. For instance, Blue and Pied mutations are recessive, while the Greygreen mutation is dominant. Opaline, Cinnamon, Lutino, Platinum, and Lime mutations are sex-linked. It’s crucial to note that the quality and appearance of these mutations depend on the breeding’s quality. Some breeders emphasize the beauty of well-bred opaline or blue varieties, with lutino and cinnamon opaline combinations being particularly admired.

While the fascination with Red Rump Parakeet mutations peaked in the mid-late 1990s, interest has waned. Nonetheless, dedicated breeders continue to work with these mutations, producing exceptional examples of these birds.

Behavior and Temperament

Red-rumped parakeets are often spotted in pairs or small flocks, displaying a social yet territorial demeanor, especially among their own kind. It’s advisable to house them individually or in pairs to mitigate potential aggression. These birds are known for their lively and playful nature, relishing in exploring their surroundings and engaging with their owners. However, they may not harmonize well with other bird species, and prolonged solitude might lead to decreased sociability and potential hostility.

Unlike some parrot species, Red Rumped Parakeets aren’t famed for mimicking human speech. Their vocal repertoire comprises soft calls, chirps, and melodious songs, creating a pleasant auditory experience. While perched, they can produce whistling and trilling sounds, and during defense, they might emit shrill chatter. Their vocal activity peaks at dawn, dusk, feeding times, and during courtship.

Despite their sociable tendencies, taming these parakeets demands patience. While they appreciate interaction with their human companions, they also find joy in self-amusement over extended periods. Striking a balance between social engagement and independent play contributes to their well-being.

Pros and Cons of Red Rump Parakeets

ProsCons
Striking and colorful feathersTendency to become possessive, particularly in the breeding period
Enjoyable and moderate sound levels, characterized by melodious chirps and sequences of tweetsPotential for aggression towards other bird species
Robust and less prone to illnesses under optimal conditionsSusceptible to various health issues such as feather plucking, eye infections, respiratory problems, and Pacheco’s Disease
Active and entertaining, offering amusement and delightTraining can be challenging, and behavioral problems may arise if not trained early
Breeding in captivity is relatively straightforward with the right flight space and a large nesting boxTendency to become despondent when left alone for extended periods or if they’re bored
Relatively low-maintenance, with straightforward feeding requirementsProne to feather plucking if they have a lot of pent-up energy
Longevity in human care, often living up to 20 years or more with proper careCan be costly, with prices ranging from $150 to $500
Generally amiable and fascinating to watchNot known for mimicking human speech
Can live in pairs or flocks, spending a significant amount of time feeding on the groundNot as affectionate and playful as some other parrot species

Housing and Care

Red Rump Parakeet stands out for its distinctive social dynamics, temperament, and vocal expressions. Socially, these birds typically form pairs or small flocks, showcasing a high level of sociability. However, they can also display aggression and territorial behavior, particularly among their own kind. Optimal housing involves keeping them either alone or in pairs, with caution urged when housing multiple pairs in one enclosure, as noted by the Aviculture Hub.

In terms of temperament, Red Rump Parakeets are known for their lively and playful nature. They can exhibit affectionate behaviors, making them a delightful choice as a pet. Yet, their territorial tendencies, especially when paired, should be considered.

Vocally, Red Rump Parakeets communicate through soft calls and chirps, producing whistling and trilling sounds while perched. During defensive moments, they may emit shrill chatter. Their vocalizations include melodic chirps and pleasant tweet sequences. Noteworthy is their limited inclination to mimic sounds, such as human voices, setting them apart in the avian world.

Health and Lifespan

Cage Requirements:

Red Rump Parakeets are lively birds that thrive in spacious cages, promoting movement and play. A single parakeet’s cage should measure at least 30 inches in length, 20 inches in width, and 20 inches in height, with a bar spacing of ½ inch. Round cages are discouraged due to space limitations. Outfit the cage with multiple perches, climbing ladders, swings, and toys to ensure mental stimulation and physical activity. Breeding pairs benefit from a sizable vertical nesting box measuring 10” x 6” x 6”.

Clean Environment and Exercise:

Maintaining a clean environment is vital for the well-being of Red Rump Parakeets. Regularly clean the cage, habitat liners, and accessories to prevent health issues. These birds require supervised outside-of-cage time for exploration and exercise, contributing to their overall health. Regular exercise supports physical well-being, and cholesterol control, and helps alleviate boredom.

Diet:

A balanced diet mirrors the Red Rump Parakeet’s natural preferences, encompassing a mix of seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Provide fresh food and water daily, removing uneaten food promptly. The base diet should consist of a combination of seeds and grains, supplemented with small shreds of raw greens like spinach, endive, lettuce, chickweed, broccoli tops, carrot tops, green beans, and peas. Treats can include fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, and seasonal varieties. Pellets offer a balanced nutritional source and can be considered alongside seeds for a well-rounded diet.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding Habits:

Red Rump Parakeets, also recognized as Red-rumped Parrots, are known for their prolific breeding, making them an excellent choice for novice aviculturists. Their breeding season typically spans from August to January, with variations in response to rainfall in drier inland areas. To ensure successful breeding, it’s advisable to segregate each pair, minimizing aggression and territorial behavior.

Nesting Requirements:

These parakeets favor vertical nest boxes, measuring around 10 inches x 6 inches x 6 inches, featuring a concave bottom to prevent egg rolling. Lining the nest box with materials like aspen shavings absorbs droppings and provides a suitable surface for the eggs. Some breeders recommend a slightly deeper nest box, approximately 7-8 inches square and 14 inches deep.

Egg Laying and Incubation:

During each clutch, the female Red Rump Parakeet lays 3 to 7 eggs, depositing one egg every two days. Incubation lasts approximately 18 to 20 days before hatching. It’s crucial not to disturb the hen during this period, as she will remain committed to the nest.

Chick Development:

Following hatching, the chicks take an additional 4-5 weeks to fledge. During this phase, the male may assist in feeding the hen, who, in turn, nurtures the chicks. If the chicks aren’t removed for hand-rearing, caution is necessary to prevent potential attacks by the male once they fledge.

Additional Considerations:

For breeding, select Red Rumps aged between 1-5 years, ensuring adequate rest between breeding seasons. Providing the breeding pair with a high-quality diet is essential to support the health of the offspring. These considerations contribute to a successful and healthy breeding experience with Red Rump Parakeets.

Price and Availability


The cost of acquiring a Red Rump Parakeet can vary significantly, influenced by factors like age, color, and whether the bird has been hand-raised or aviary-bred. Prices range from $75 to $800, with more common varieties typically falling between $20 and $50. Rarer versions, such as an Opaline Blue Red Rump Parakeet ($350) or an Albino Red Rump Parakeet ($495), tend to be pricier. These birds are available in pet stores, bird shops, and online platforms. It’s crucial to choose a reputable store with proper breeding practices and a clean, healthy environment. Online options, with delivery services, are also available. Breeders, found on websites like BirdsNow and AmericanListed, offer a broader color variety and more information about the bird’s lineage.

Adoption is a compassionate alternative, with many Red Rump Parakeets in shelters or rescues. Platforms dedicated to bird adoption or rescue organizations provide opportunities to give a loving home to a bird in need. Before acquiring a Red Rump Parakeet, inquire about its age, diet, and potential health issues. Research reputable sources to ensure the bird’s health and well-being. This approach ensures a responsible and informed choice when bringing a Red Rump Parakeet into your home.

IUCN Status

Red-rumped Parakeet enjoys a favorable conservation status, as classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), being labeled as “Least Concern.” This designation signifies that the species is not presently under the threat of extinction. In fact, the available data suggests a positive trend, with indications of an increasing population for the Red-rumped Parakeet. This status reflects a reassuring outlook for the well-being and survival of this vibrant parrot species in its natural habitat.

Conclusion

Red Rump Parakeets, with their vibrant feathers and friendly demeanor, have gained popularity as beloved pets. These medium-sized parrots, originating from southeastern Australia, are cherished for their energetic disposition, requiring roomy cages that support flight and play. Adorned with perches and toys, their enclosures should stimulate both their minds and bodies.

Maintaining a clean environment is vital for their well-being, and regular wing exercises are essential to ward off boredom and prevent self-destructive behaviors. Their diet should encompass a mix of seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables to mirror their natural foraging tendencies.

Known for their extended lifespan in captivity, Red Rump Parakeets can live for 20 years or more with proper care. While not renowned for mimicking human speech, they delight with a pleasing repertoire of soft calls and chirps, adding to their charm as delightful companions.

Author

  • Dr. Sajjad Ali

    Dr. Sajjad is an Avian expert and loves to treat and help parrots. He has two years of clinical experience in treating and helping parrots as a vet.

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