Species group: Australian Parakeets
Other common names: Princess Parrot; Alexandra's Parrot; Princess Alexandra's Parakeet; Queen Alexandra's Parakeet; Rose-throated Parakeet; Spinifex Parrot
Scientific name: Polytelis alexandrae
The pastel Princess of Wales Parakeet is an elegant aviary bird that looks good and is relatively hassle-free. They are a bit more vocal than some of the other Australian parakeet species, and a few individuals have learned to speak, although you're more likely to be able to teach your pet to mimic a whistle. They are relatively easy to care for and could be a good choice for a novice breeder's birds.
Despite its delicate appearance, the Princess of Wales Parakeet is a tough native of the Great Sandy Desert of inland Australia and some surrounding arid habitat. They are a nomadic species that seems to follow the seeding of some tough Australian grasses, and their population may be threatened by destruction of their specialized habitat, including competition from introduced grass-eaters like sheep and rabbits. With less than 5,000 birds remaining in the wild, the Princess of Wales Parakeet faces an unknown future, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has listed the species as “near-threatened.”
There is no other parrot quite like the Princess of Wales Parakeet. Both the male and the female are long, slim parakeets with remarkable pink throats, but the male in particular has a long, almost streamer-like tail. The third primary feather of each wing will also develop a distinctive spatulate or scooplike tip on the end. The female is a bit plainer in color, her long tail is not quite as long as her mate's, and she lacks the “scoop” feathers on her third primaries. There is a choice of color mutations available.
92 grams (3.2 oz.)
40 centimeters (15.7 in.)
20 - 30 years
Behavior / temperament:
While they are mostly kept as aviary birds, the Princess of Wales Parakeet is respected as a gentle, fairly easy-going bird who can make a great pet if handled from an early age. They can vocalize, and occasionally some people mention that they can be somewhat noisy. The upside is, of course, that their ability to vocalize means that some birds may learn to talk, and many learn to whistle.
They can be affectionate and attentive to their owner if kept as a single pet. Of course, if kept in pairs or colonies, they will focus on their own kind. Here is a cute behavior to watch for during courtship: The Princess of Wales Parakeet pairs may press cheeks together and use their wings to attempt to hug each other.
The Princess of Wales Parakeet benefits from a large cage to accommodate the long tail, especially on the males. A small macaw cage might not be too much, provided the bar spacing wasn't too wide. A minimum size for a single pet might be 36”w by 24”d by 36” tall. However, the majority of pairs or colonies are undoubtedly housed in custom-built aviaries, to show off these birds to perfection and to give them the opportunity to move. They tend to spend a lot of time on the floor, so take care to provide a substrate that is easily cleaned, to prevent the spread of worms or other diseases.
Princess of Wales Parakeets might look like sugar-spun candy, but they're tough birds of the sandy Australian interior, and they are relatively easy to feed. 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, the Princess of Wales Parakeet may refuse to recognize pellets as food, requiring you to bake a good birdie bread or to mix up a good egg food 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. Breeders who keep them in mixed species aviaries with quail or finches report that sometimes the Princess of Wales Parakeet may learn to accept live food or other healthy food by watching their companions eat it first.
Written by Elaine Radford
interactive, cheerful mood, Curious Princess, dégagé personality
The Perpetualy Curious Princess of Wales
It is perplexing to me that a bird as beautiful and engaging as the Princess of Wales is not that well represented in the avian community. Our POWs live in the aviary in the backyard and it is always a delight to pay them a visit! They are always in a cheerful mood and are only too happy to let us join their festivities. "Ciento" is one of the birds that was born in the aviary and he expresses his hospitality by promptly hopping on to my shoulder and competing with the others for affection. Every food dish that I am carrying must be immediately sampled and it is a contest to see who gets the first sip out of the water dish!
Whenever, I pull my cell phone out of my pocket to take a picture, I immediately have a cast of characters trying to operate the phone for me! They are incredibly curious and will investigate any new toy immediately! Their dégagé personality makes them good neighbors for other species and they cohabit the aviary peacefully with Rock Pebblers, Cockatiels and Linneolated Parakeets.
I am not familiar with their speaking ability because we keep them in a flock and they´re too busy speaking their own dialect to listen to what I have to say. Overall, they are very delightful birds and we thoroughly enjoy their company.
This link includes a short video clip of the Princess of Wales enjoying a snack of carrots and celery. http://www.birdzhaven.com/blog/2010/11/princess-of-wales-in-the-aviary/
From Birdzhaven Feb 11 2012 7:44PM
A beautiful bird
I received my first Princess Parrot as a gift when I was 7, and with the unoriginality of youth named her "Ozzie" (because she was an Australian bird, obviously. And I thought she was male. She wasn't).
Ozzie started life as an inside bird - with clipped wings, she couldn't fly much, but she enjoyed blundering around my room, and definitely had preferred places to go to the toilet (hint: right up high, where it was hard to get to). Being more-or-less hand-raised, she was always comfortable around people, and was more than happy to perch on a shoulder and nibble your ear.
Eventually, as we acquired more princess parrots it became impossible to keep them inside, so an aviary was built. The other birds weren't hand-raised, and were a lot more wary of people. It was possible to win their trust, but it involved sitting in there reading a book for hours over a period of weeks to get them happy to land on me. If they're not hand-raised, they will be very wary!
In regards to keeping them, they're generally pretty low maintenance - canary and sunflower seeds keep them fed, and you just have to keep the aviary clean as with any bird.
I wasn't a successful breeder, but that's probably more a reflection on me than an inherent difficulty with the breed itself.
In terms of vocalisations - they have quite a distinctive, bell-like call. Next to your ear, it's incredibly piercing, but from a distance it's quite nice. They don't seem to be big mimics (at least, none of mine were), so I wouldn't recommend them if you want one that will start whistling tunes etc.
They are, however, gorgeous birds - the males, in particular, are extremely vibrant, with pink throats, blue patches on their heads, and lovely green wings. There are also a number of artificially bred colour variations (e.g., blue/grey), which are equally stunning and command a higher price in petstores.
Overall a lovely bird to own, and no higher maintenance than most - regular worming is essential, as is general cleaning of living areas, but they're otherwise fairly hardy. Would buy again!.
From Newsforever Aug 7 2015 11:09PM
Beautiful but .... ? These are truly beautiful birds but don't seem to be very 'people interactive' birds. If you were someone who had the ability and luxury to afford and maintain an elegant aviary, and it was because you genuinely enjoyed the beauty and gracefulness of birds, i think you would be enormously pleased with a flock of Princess of Wales in it. As a companion bird, though, they seem very lacking.
These are truly beautiful birds but don't seem to be very 'people interactive' birds. If you were someone who had the ability and luxury to afford and maintain an elegant aviary, and it was because you genuinely enjoyed the beauty and gracefulness of birds, i think you would be enormously pleased with a flock of Princess of Wales in it.
As a companion bird, though, they seem very lacking..
From nakwisi Nov 18 2008 5:00PM