What to expect with your Bourkes Parakeet

They are quite sedentary, and are inactive for most of the day – just walking around their cage floor and napping.

In the evening they will perk up and begin to eat, sing, and fly.

They are non-destructive and not big chewers so won’t destroy vegetation in an aviary or your woodwork in a bird room.

They take long afternoon naps.

Their sleep schedule is from sundown to sunrise.

They are prone to night-frights (they get scared and start flapping around wildly and can easily injure themselves) so provide a night-light.

Bourke Parakeets are semi-nocturnal.

In the wild they spend the day low and stationary, feeding in shrubs during the day and become active once the sun goes down when they fly to the water.

Their flying is noisy as they flap their wings rapidly and erratically changing course.

They have a loud shrill, yet pleasant call when they fly.

Their flight has been compared to that of a butterfly.

From sunset to full darkness they become their most active and vocal.

Grooming the Bourkes Parakeet

The Bourkes parakeet enjoys a daily bath.

Provide a bath of cool, clean water in a large, shallow dish or bowl.

They don’t need to have their nails or beaks trimmed.

What is the lifespan of a Bourkes Parakeet?

The lifespan of the Bourkes parakeet is 8-15 years.

The average lifespan of the Bourkes parakeet is 10 years.

They are very hardy birds as long as they’re not exposed to ongoing damp conditions.

“They are certainly not ‘beginner’s birds’ and will usually not thrive if they are not provided with a spacious aviary where a small flock can be kept in company of a few other small and harmless birds.

It is possible to keep a pair or a single bird in a cage, but they will be sluggish and unhealthy if they are not let out to fly and socialize with humans frequently. ” Wikipedia.

How can I tell if my Bourkes Parakeet is a girl or a boy?

The Bourkes Parakeet can be visually sexed.

The female Bourkes Parakeet is smaller than the male and has a white brow above the nares, a white wing stripe, and are generally duller in color than the males.

The males are larger and have a blue band of feathers above the nares, blue along the bend of their wing, paler blue on the flanks, side of their rump, and under thair tail.

Females may have blue above the nares but it’s much duller.

Mature males have a blue crown on their forehead and brighter blue on their wings.

Hens and juvenile Bourkes parrots have a full grey head while the hen can be distinguised from the juvenile by their more pink coloration.

Adolescent Bourkes have duller coloration and lack the blue band above the nares.

Introduction to the Bourkes Parrot

The Bourkes Parrot is the only species in its genus Neopsephotus.

This species is sometimes placed in the genus Neophema and there is an ongoing discussion about the proper taxonomic placement of this species.

Due to their inability to breed with other Neophema, Bourkes parakeet has been set in a separate genus, Neopsephotus.

Scientific classification of the Bourkes Parrot from Wikipedia.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Platycercinae
Tribe: Neophemini
Genus: Neopsephotus bourkii (formally Neophema)
Species: N. bourkii
Binomial name: Neopsephotus bourkii
Also known as: Bourkes Parrot, Bourkie, Blue-vented Parrot, Night Parrot (it will fly into watering places at night), Pink-bellied Parrot, Sundown Parrot, Blue-vented Parakeet, Pink-bellied Parakeet; and Bourke Parakeet or Bourkes Grass-Parakeet. (not to be confused with the rare night parrot, pezoporus occidentalis)

What does a Bourkes Parakeet look like?

The Bourkes parakeet small – seven and one half inches (including the tail).

The miminum size is 19 cm.

The max size is 23 cm.

The average size is 21 cm.

A Bourkes Parakeet weights between 42-49 grams.

The average weight is 45 grams.

The Bourkes Parakeet is mainly grey, pink, and blue.

They range from grey to sunset pink.

They are brown with a pink abdomen and breast, and a blue rump.

Their legs are brown.

Their toes are zygodactyl (toes arranged in pairs: second and third toes point forward and the other two toes point back.

Their bill is yellowish-brown.

They have large eyes circled in white as they are most active in the evening.

They have a circle of white around their eyes that makes them look like they are wearing glasses or have a permanent look of surprise.

Their head and back is soft grey.

Their chest and belly is deep pink.

Their rump is soft powder blue.

Their tail and wing feathers are pale grey.

Their shoulders are vivid medium blue.

When they were in the genus Neophema, they were the only member of the genus that lacked green primary plumage.

They are now in their own genus, Neopsephotus.

Breeding the Bourkes Parakeet

In nature, the Bourkes Parakeets form monogamous pairs that last from season to season.

They nest in a hollow upright dead tree or tree stump.

They lay their eggs on the decayed wood in the bottom of the hollow tree.

The female incubates the eggs and leaves the nest once a day so that her mate may regurgitate seeds.

Both parents brood the young.

“The Bourkes Parrot has a clutch of 3 to 6 eggs, which are incubated by the female for 18-19 days, with the chicks fledging at about 4 weeks of age.

The female also feeds and tends to the chicks by herself.

While the female Bourkes Parrot is incubating the eggs, and also while she is feeding the chicks in the nest, she is fed by the male Bourkes Parrot. ” Wikipedia.

The hen will lean forward on the perch and make soft chirruping sounds when she is ready to mate.

Usually, the male will accept her request with no argument.

He usually won’t accompany her in the nest box, but will make frequent visits to feed her.

She will be reluctant to leave her eggs and will spend most of her time sitting on the eggs.

Bourkes Parakeets will accept any parakeet nestbox.

Place it up high to give them a sense of security and privacy.

If you have more than one breeding pair, provide several nestboxes so they won’t bicker over favorites.

How do I keep my Bourkes Parakeet from getting hormonal or laying eggs?

  • Basically you want to change everything that says to the Bourkes Parakeet that they are in good breeding conditions:
  • Decrease the light cycle.
  • Stop feeding excess seeds and soft foods
  • Rotate cage toys, place in smaller cage
  • Remove any toys they may become amorous with
  • If they lay eggs, shake or freeze them and put them back. Do not remove them, they will just lay more which is not healthy.

Egg-bound Bourkes Parakeet

Excessive egg-laying is very hard on the female Bourkes Parakeet and depletes her calcium.

She becomes weakened, her bones brittle, and she is unable to pass the egg and can become egg-bound.

This is a life-threatening condition and must be taken care of by an avian vet immediately.

An egg-bound Bourkes Parakeet hen may pant, lay down on the bottom of the cage, strain, bob her tail up and down.

Make sure she has plenty of humidity – put her in the bathroom in her cage on the counter and run a hot shower till the room gets steamy.

Put some vegetable oil on her vent.

Give her plenty of calcium and egg food and make sure you have a full spectrum light so she can get the vitamin D she needs to process the calcium.

There are also vitamin D supplements available for birds.

You can gently massage her tummy around the egg too.

The most important thing you need to do is get her to an avian vet asap.

Bourkes Parakeet Breeding Factsheet

  • Breeding Season: July-December in nature, but can breed any time of the year, given the right conditions
  • Clutch Size: 3-6
  • Incubation: 18-20 days, average: 19 days
  • Time in nest: 28 days
  • Reach adult plumage at 8-9 months
  • Avg clutch: 4-6 eggs
  • Avg clutch hatch 3-4 babies
  • Babies fledge: 4 weeks, but often stay w/ parents extended time
  • 7-8 weeks babies are independent and can be moved from parents
  • Bourkes Parakeets make good foster parents for other grass and mulga parakeets
  • Bourkes Parakeets cannot breed with other species

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