Species group: Australian Parakeets
Other common names: Bourke’s Grass Parrot; Bourke’s Grass Parakeet; Pink-bellied Parakeet; Blue-vented Parakeet; Sundown Parrot; Night Parrot
Scientific name: Neopsephotus bourkii
The Bourke's Parrot is a gentle, relatively easy to care for, smaller parakeet that doesn't offer many behavior challenges. Its undemanding care and its calm personality can make it the perfect parrot for the novice bird owner or the busy apartment dweller.
This endemic Australian species is found in the dry interior. It forms nomadic flocks that follow the water holes in its otherwise dry, challenging climate. As a grass parakeet, it has faced some competition from livestock that overgrazes its habitat, but it has also increased in numbers in areas that have been irrigated for agriculture. They are often most active at dawn and, especially, dusk, leading to the nicknames “Sundown Parrot” or “Night Parrot.”
They were formerly placed in the Neophema genus, but they were given their own genus because they have some significant differences from the other Neophemas, and they were the only species that couldn't hybridize with the others. Not everyone has accepted the name change, so you may still find information about them published under the name Neophema bourkii.
A small quietly colored parrot in the wild form, this bird truly exploded onto the popular scene with the creation of the lovely Rosy Bourke mutation. There are now several other attractive color mutations, but the darkest pink versions of the classic Rosy Bourke are undoubtedly the most highly prized by most pet owners. The natural wild form of the Bourke's Parrot is easily sexed because the adult male has a prominent blue band on his forehead, which the adult female lacks. Some of the mutations may be more challenging, but in general, the females would show a darker face and/or more gray or drab color in their body plumage.
40 - 50 grams (1.4 - 1.8 oz.)
19 centimeters (7.5 on.)
10 - 15 years
Behavior / temperament:
The sweet, gentle, non-aggressive Bourke's Parrot is a shy bird that may demand some patience. For a single pet, you should get a hand-fed baby, and work lovingly with the bird every day to encourage its confidence. Your pet will probably never talk or perform any tricks, but it will probably never get involved in destructive chewing, and it would be very rare for a Bourke's to bite. They can learn to whistle back and forth with you, so focus on whistling lessons.
They are sometimes criticized for being low energy, but they can be a very practical pet for someone who has to work. Many individuals are more active in the early evening, so you can enjoy the best of your pet even if you have to hold down a day job.
Their gentle nature makes them good choices for the mixed species flight, but don't allow the other birds to harass the Bourke's.
A single pet Bourke's Parrot may be housed in a powder-coated metal cage at least 24”w by 18”d by 24” tall. They are not particularly chewy or destructive, so they can also be safely housed in a larger, mixed-species or planted flight. Be sure that all of the plants are bird-safe, and watch to make certain that the other birds are not harassing the rather gentle, passive Bourke's. It may be difficult to get them to accept toys, but have perches or play areas out where you can bring your pet along with you to keep it sweet. That said, if you have a hand-fed baby, you are likely to be your pet's favorite perch, and the bird may simply enjoy riding along on your shoulder to accompany you around the house.
Like many of the other classic favorites of Australian aviculture, the Bourke's Parrot is a tough little grass-eating bird from a relatively arid habitat, so it doesn't require a finicky or difficult diet. A high quality small seed mix is usually the backbone of the diet, but be sure to provide plenty of soaked and sprouted seeds, seeding heads, and millet sprays as well. You should provide access to chopped fruits and vegetables, with plenty of chopped greens. Do not offer avocado or chocolate, as these items are toxic to all parrots.
Like cockatiels, Bourke's Parrot may refuse to recognize pellets as food, requiring you to bake a good birdie bread or to mix up a good eggfood once in awhile to encourage them to enjoy some protein. They are ground feeders in the wild, and some breeders advise offering food bowls on the ground to encourage your picky eaters.
Written by Elaine Radford
lovely twitter, beautiful colors, sweet parrots, calm companion bird, gentle parrots
incredibly shy bird, excess energy
pink mutation, newer varieties, occasional gentle calls, strong wolfwhistle, Rosy variations
Easy, Clean Bird to Care For
Millie, my rosey bourke, came into my life in August '16 as a milestone birthday gift to myself. She was clipped when I got her as a rehome, and it took about 6 months for most of her flight feathers to grow back. Except for some whistling and chirping, she is very quiet, laid back and is ideal as an apartment pet. She is quite neat, doesn't smell and barely dirties her cage even after several days. Easy to feed, she is on a diet of pellets, budgie mix and some greens. I let her fly free in my office for several hours every day, and her wings make a lovely whistling sound, like a dove's. She will mimic sounds from my bird clock, as well as trying to do her best imitations of my green singing finches. She dislikes being touched, but she loves to hang out on my shoulder or on my head, and preen my hair and ear. Although bourkes can't bite like a budgie, they will growl if they are upset or angry, and may give you a bit of a pressure-pinch bite, which does not hurt at all. Bourkes are also non-dusty, unlike a cockatiel, and are better for people with allergies and asthma. I highly recommend a bourke's parrot as a first or starter hookbill. I believe they are vastly underrated, and wish they were more common as they can be incredibly hard to find. Price-wise, the average cost is about $100-175 for a hand-raised/hand-fed bird, which is much more expensive than a budgie, but still quite reasonable for a small parrot. .
From Nerine Feb 15 2017 9:00PM