Red-fronted Parakeet

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Is the Red-fronted Parakeet right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Red-fronted Kakariki; Red-crowned Parakeet; Red-crowned Kakarik; New Zealand Parakeet; New Zealand Kakarikii

Scientific name: Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae

The basics:
The Red-fronted Parakeet, often called the Red-fronted Kakariki, is an active mostly green parakeet from New Zealand. These birds are outgoing and curious, and they have a reputation for being more involved, energetic pets than their Australian counterparts. Like the Australian parakeetss, they may not like being touched, but they love to fly to their owners and get involved in what their people are doing. Since they exercise by flying, they are often held unclipped, which means that you must provide a long flight for exercise and also secure the house properly to prevent accidental escape when your pet is out playing with you.

In the recent past, there were eight subspecies lumped into the Red-fronted Kakariki category, although the critically endangered Norfolk Island Parakeet C. cookii and the vulnerable New Caledonian Parakeet, C. saisetti have now been afforded the status of full species. There are also any number of hybrids with the Yellow-fronted Parakeet, and even a few color mutations, of the Red-fronted Parakeet floating around. Consult with an expert breeder to confirm what you have.

The Red-fronted Parakeet and its relatives have faced an uphill battle for survival since Europeans discovered New Zealand and the nearby islands. Having evolved on peaceful, isolated islands with few natural predators, these birds are not highly skilled at escaping introduced predators. The same active, confiding nature that makes them charming pets has caused them to fall victim to those who approach with ill intent, such as feral cats. Two of the original eight subspecies of the Red-fronted Parakeet have been extinct since the late 1880s, and more of them face continued challenges. There's some debate over whether or not the Red-fronted Parakeet is completely extinct on the mainland of New Zealand, but there is no debate that these birds are vulnerable in the wild and should be treated as the rare gems that they are. You must never house Red-fronted and Yellow-fronted Parakeets together, as they will hybridize. Make every decision with the good of your pet and the good of the species in mind. For example, if you hold a hybrid, and the seller or rescue organization asks you not to breed the bird, do not go back on your word, as the request is made out of respect for the preservation of the natural species.

In general, the Red-fronted Parakeet has a red or deep orange crown on top of a red band above the beak, while the Yellow-fronted Parakeet has a yellow crown on top of the red band above the beak.

50 - 113 grams (1.8 - 4 oz.)

Average size:
27 centimeters (10.6 in.)

10 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Red-fronted Parakeet is an active, involved pet, especially when hand-fed or socialized from an early age. They love to play, to investigate, and to get into things, so they are much more active and involved than most Australian parakeets, and they may enjoy a more high-energy home than the classic Australians. Because they like to go to the ground, do watch your step and be alert when they're out and about.

A single Red-fronted Parakeet is likely to remain an entertaining pet, but all bets are off if you introduce a second bird. The birds may team up and view themselves as mates, which can lead to some territorial aggression. They can bite, especially during a hormone surge or if they are being held. Bear in mind that they tend to dislike being held or picked up, and consider teaching them to fly to you on command to minimize any need to chase them around the house.

Warning: Sometimes a Red-fronted Parakeet will seem to fall into a trance or even a seizure if they are picked up, held, or restrained. Be aware of this reaction, and be sure your avian vet is aware of this also, so that your pet is not subjected to unnecessary tests, medications, and additional stresses.

The Red-fronted Parakeet is a busy, active bird who enjoys climbing, walking around on the floor, and flying. In other words, they get into everything, and you need to respect their active natures. A minimum size powder-coated metal cage for a single pet is probably 24”w by 24”d by 24” tall with 1/2” bar spacing, but bigger can be better, especially for a flighted bird. If you have a free-flying bird who comes to you, that's great, but you still need a bird-proof, bird-secure room where you can lock the doors and windows from the inside so that no one strolls in and accidentally lets your pet escape. A walk-in aviary is not excessive.

Have playgyms and perches set up with toys and chew items, but be aware that sometimes your Red-fronted Parakeet can't resist hopping down on the floor. Know where your pet is at all times, so that you don't inadvertently step on your bird. Also note that Red-fronted Parakeets have specialized feathers adapted for cooler temperatures, and they must not be kept in greenhouses or other overheated situations.

The Red-fronted Parakeet may be susceptible to the aspergillosis, and you must be relentless in providing only the best food in the cleanest surroundings. The basic diet may include a small seed mix, but you may want to consider not providing peanut or sunflower seed except from human food grade sources. Sprouts and sprouted millet sprays are favorite foods, but they must never be served if there is a hint of mold anywhere in the sprouting project. Provide a chopped salad with plenty of healthy vegetables, including greens like Swiss chard, broccoli, dandelion greens, and chickweed. Anything that contains grain, including multi-grain bread or cockatiel birdie bread, should be freshly prepared. High quality pellets should be purchased from busy suppliers with heavy turn-over, to make sure that you're serving only the freshest food. Never feed chocolate or avocado, as these items are toxic to all parrots.

Note: The Red-fronted Parakeet likes to “scratch” on the ground like a chicken, and they will “scratch” in their food cups as well. A partly covered feeder cup may stop them from flinging quite so much food around, but you will still need to work at it to keep the area cleared of spoiled food.

Written by Elaine Radford


colorful pretty parakeet, intelligent bird, Great aviary bird, simple tricks, brilliant pets


sturdy sized parakeet, plastic toy weights, little sqweaking noise, best paternal instinct

Helpful Red-fronted Parakeet Review

Red-fronted Parakeet

From Little_Blue Oct 29 2009 3:46PM


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