Turquoise Parrot

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Is the Turquoise Parrot right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Turquoise Grass Parakeet; Turquoisine Parakeet;Beautiful Parrot; Beautiful Grass Parakeet; Chestnut-shouldered Parrot; Chestnut-shouldered Grass Parakeet

Scientific name: Neophema pulchella

The basics:
The Turquoise Parrot is a gentle seed-eater that doesn't offer many behavior challenges. They also tend to be a hassle-free addition to the planted or mixed species aviary, and the colorful adult male is one of the most beautiful of the grass parakeets. They are somewhat more active than most of the other Neophemas, and a bird with clipped wings will run around on the floor, but they are relatively quiet. One warning: Their health is somewhat fragile, and they must not be exposed to cold or damp.

This lovely parakeet is a grassland species endemic to southeastern Australia. In the early 20th century, the species suffered a collapse, but a 1940s-era recovery program seems to have stabilized the population. Today, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) rates the Turquoise as a species of least concern, but the situation bears watching. Australian observers believe that these birds could still suffers from predation from introduced feral cats and foxes, as well as the destruction of the hollow logs that they need for nesting.

A close relative of the Scarlet-chested Parakeet, the Turquoise Parrot may sometimes be confused with its cousin. With the lookalike adult females, check the lores. It is a creamy color in the Turquoise female, while it's blue in the Scarlet-chested female. The adult male Turquoise has a chestnut-red shoulder patch on the wing, which is missing in the Scarlet-chested male. There are several color mutations available, including the very popular yellow, which may be easier to find than the natural form.

35 - 46 grams (1.2 - 1.6 oz.)

Average size:
20 centimeters (8 in.)

10 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
The sweet, gentle, non-aggressive Turquoise Parrot is a calm 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 Turquoise Parrot to bite. They can learn to whistle back and forth with you, so focus on whistling lessons.

The Turquoise Parrot's usual gentle nature makes them good choices for the mixed species flight, but there have been a few reports of pairs harassing other birds, so always keep an eye on how the birds are interacting with each other, especially during breeding season. They have been kept successfully in colonies, as well as pairs, but monitor the situation carefully, as sometimes males may indulge in spats.

A single pet Turquoise 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 Turquoise Parakeet. Do not house them with other Neophema parakeets, since they will hybridize. Instead, let them share the mixed aviary with non-competing species such as ornamental quail or doves, finches, canaries, or even cockatiels.

It may be difficult to get the Turquoise Parrot 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 Turquoise Parrot is a 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, the Turquoise 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. Breeders who keep them in mixed species aviaries with quail or finches report that sometimes the Turquoise Parrot may learn to accept live food or other healthy food by watching their companions eat it first.

Written by Elaine Radford


phrases, colours, enthusiastic eater, beautiful bird


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