Species group: Other Parrots
Other common names: Grey-cheeked Brotogeris; Orange-winged Parakeet; Orange-flanked Parakeet; Pocket Parrot; Fire-winged Parakeet
Scientific name: Brotogeris pyrrhopterus
The Grey-cheeked Parakeet was a popular, inexpensive green “pocket parrot” back in the days when entire flocks could be imported from the wild. They can be a little screechy, but they're active and energetic, they can be trained to go to anyone, and they love to play on their special person more than they love any toy. Unfortunately, these little treasures have become tough to find.
During the 1980s, when they were imported and sold at a very low price, most breeders didn't care to work with them, because they could not sell them for enough money to pay for their investment. When legal imports ceased in 1992, most breeders were slow to react, although Robbie Harris may be singled out for her patient work with this difficult genus. Today, a pet Grey-cheeked Parakeet is an unusual treasure.
The Grey-cheeked Parakeet had a small historical range in southwest Ecuador and northwest Peru, and its population has been in free-fall since the 1970s, causing the bird to be red-listed as an endangered species. It was over-collected legally in the 1970s and 1980s, and illegal trapping has continued after export of the birds from Peru to the United States became illegal in 1992. Know your breeder, and do not risk purchasing a smuggled bird from an unethical source.
Grey-cheeks have also lost ground to widespread destruction of their habitat, since they prefer deciduous forest – the very type of forest that is most attractive to loggers. As a final insult, when land is converted to crops or grazing, it prevents the forest from returning, yet sometimes the Grey-cheeks are persecuted when they are forced to eat agricultural crops. This little bird faces a tough time in the wild.
A small green parrot with a blue crown and gray cheeks, this parakeet shows a flash of orange-red under the wing when it takes flight.
45 - 60 grams (1.5 - 2 oz.)
20 centimeters (8 in.)
10 - 15 years
Behavior / temperament:
The Grey-cheeked Parakeet, like most smaller parrots, responds best if it is trained very young. You need to be willing to work with your pet from the very beginning and to be hands-on with your bird every day. This species in particular is noted for refusing toys, and it is better to teach them one of their favorite tricks, such as lying on their back in your hand to play dead. Some of them can even learn to talk.
While you can keep Grey-cheeks in aviaries or pairs, if you do, they might lose their wonderful tameness. If you want a true pet, have just one, and invest your attention in your special bird. A lonely, neglected bird can be at risk for feather-plucking. Also, most people who have only one Grey-cheek rate them as quiet birds. They may even get them to learn a few words or whistles. But most people who have two or more Grey-cheeks find out that these birds know how to squawk if they have others around to egg them on.
Grey-cheeked Parakeets are active little birds with chewy beaks for their size but small, slender feet. A powder-coated metal large cockatiel cage, with dimensions around 24”wide by 18” deep by 24” tall will give your pet room to move around, but make it easier on its feet by providing perches sized for a budgie instead of for a cockatiel. You should have perches or a play area in parts of the house where you spend a lot of time, but be aware that you will be a single pet Grey-cheek's favorite perch. You can and should offer some toys, but many owners report that these birds much prefer playing with or on their humans to the toys.
Because the Grey-cheek spends so much time walking on, perching on, tumbling on, and poking around on their favorite person, you need to make special care that you don't accidentally injure your bird. A surprising number of people have lost their pets to accidents, often because they didn't realize that the Grey-cheek was getting into a pocket or underfoot. If you are distracted and can't focus on playing with your pet, return it to its cage until you can pay better attention. Try to teach your Grey-cheek to snuggle into a shirt pocket, never a trouser pocket. Too many tragedies have occurred when someone got absent-minded and sat on their bird.
Although the Grey-cheeked Parakeet is a smaller species, it can be susceptible to gout. If you choose a pellet-based diet, consult with your avian veterinarian or breeder, and select a lower protein variety. Many people prefer to offer a high quality seed mix with a generous selection of fresh, chopped fruits and vegetables on the side. You will probably want to learn how to make a good “chop” salad to keep lots of variety in your pet's diet. You can still offer a good pellet or monkey biscuit from time to time as a treat. Just don't become over-reliant on high protein pellets. Never allow any parrot to eat avocado or chocolate.
Written by Elaine Radford
Beloved Parakeet, wonderful species, bright feathered friend, sweet little bird
temperature fluctuations, high pitch
lessor known birds, termite mounds, Peru
Annie My Beloved Parakeet
My beloved great-aunt Ann bought me a sweet little bird as a gift when she was making a rare family visit all those years ago. I named the bird after her -- Annie.
Day after day for close to 13 years, I started my day being greeted by song from this tiny bright feathered friend as I uncovered her cage for the day. In no way was she ever a bother, in no way ever a single thing but precious. She had a mate for most of those years, Budgie, but when he died I didn't replace him, so she was alone with me and my dog for the last couple of her years, and she was ever playful and vocal. She managed to mimic my calling my dog's name and eventually on her own call out for my dog "Hey, Sweetie! Hey, Sweetie!" and, amazingly, also mimicked the sound of a car coming down my gravel driveway! So funny! Overall, parakeets are great fun, minimal trouble, and very cheerful.
They tend to throw seed/food outside the cage, but that's about the worst they can do. Terrible, right?! Ha! It's super important to keep them from drafts and not in an environment of temperature fluctuations. They are social creatures and can truly suffer as an only-bird if you're unable to give them much attention. They do well in groups. I've had parakeets for dozens of years, much of my life, and usually as pairs. They're great low-maintenance companions and have been known to mimic a large range of words. They are tiny and have good flight, so please be careful if letting them fly around your home -- many hazards may not be apparent and if they escape to the outdoors they are unlikely to survive long due to temperature changes and lack of food..
From PackTbone Aug 20 2014 10:46AM
A Beautiful Reward
Owning a Parakeet seems so easy. It’s an animal that you don’t have to walk or do much with, right? So when your young one suggests it as a pet and something they can take care of “all by themselves”, it sounds like a great idea! But is it the right pet for your family?
Yes, the bird is pretty; it whistles, sings and is lovely to look at. I love Parakeets. But they are a lot more work than you first realize, though the rewards are worth every ounce of work you do for them.
First of all, you have to think about your home. Are you going to want your Parakeet to come out of their cage? If you have other animals or small children that could harm the birds, this may not be something you can do. Especially since the birds will try to fly away (yes, even if their wings are clipped), which could harm them or the others in the house. If you are going to keep them in their cage at all times, then you need to think about a larger cage size.
If you are on a budget, it is ok to start off with a smaller cage, just keep in mind that you will need to step up to a larger one, based on the bird’s needs. It’s always a good thing to check the local sale ads. Just make sure you sanitize anything you get that is not new.
When you purchase your bird, you also need to remember to purchase toys, feeding dishes and perhaps a bird bath. You can do a light spray on them; however, it is so much better for them to just have a bird bath. Remember to purchase extra perches, this gives them different views and makes life more interesting for them.
Cleaning must be done on the cages weekly or biweekly, if you go much longer, you will get a smell. And it is not healthy for your animal either. You can use newspaper cut to your bird’s cage size or you can buy special bedding, this depends on your budget. Using litter also helps make cleaning easier and cuts down on the odor. When you clean your cage, remember to clean the toys and the perches. Your bird enjoys a clean home!
Remember, as with any animal, a Parakeet demands and deserves your time! They are very social animals and thrive on a social environment. The more time you spend with them, the happier they are. The Parakeet can easily be taught tricks with treats and a little bit of time.
Many people start Parakeet ownership thinking there is not much to owning them. Often they think there is nothing more than changing the cage every so often. Indeed, there is quite a bit more, if you want a happy, healthy bird. Although most of the work just involves showing attention and love to your animal. A happy bird will sing you beautiful songs throughout the day, as a thank-you, they just ask for a clean cage, a little food and attention in return..
From lollileaps Sep 5 2014 12:20PM