Species group: Australian Parakeets
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 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.)
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
I had my parrot as a young girl. She was my first pet and she was a great one! The only thing I did not enjoy were the nights when she wouldn't stay quiet even when the sheet was over her cage. She was very vocal at most hours of the day. She enjoyed being able to fly around the house and we enjoyed it too! She always sat on the shower rod when we were in the bathroom and would repeat phrases to us! She was such a beautiful bird! She gave us "kisses" too! She was very sweet and never nippy..
From cafilm04 Apr 1 2015 7:38PM
My experience has been with two female Turquoise Grass 'Keets, so I'm not sure of the behavioral traits of the males.
For the most part, this is a "hands off" bird...they do not like to be touched, preened or handled...probably with good reason, as their feathering is quite delicate. However, mine do like to interact with me on their own terms, which usually includes a little finger play with the beak or sitting on my shoulder, as well as being talked to. Stepping up can present a bit of a problem due to their tiny feet...they don't feel quite secure...but will step onto a hand and accept treats.
Unlike Bourke's, who tend to be a little on the dozy side during daylight hours, my Turquoise is very active....almost to the hyperactive side. For that reason, I do allow her to be flighted, and out of all my birds, she is a smart flyer who can land at whim anywhere and is extremely fast and agile in flight, (however, I would advise real caution with things like windows or other dangers until a Turquoise is used to their environment...they get up a lot of speed). I could also see a propensity towards being overweight if a Turquoise does not have the room for ability to exercise.
Caging should have a lot of length rather than height....1/4 inch horizontal bar spacing facilitates some climbing.... and like most grass 'keets, Turquoise do spend a lot of time running around on the ground where they will bathe enthusiastically, (daily during the summer months), as well as eat. For that reason, again, length of cage is more important than height, and I do not use a grate on the cage bottom to allow "ground space".
Both my Turquoise are enthusiastic eaters and enjoy a variety of greens, veggies, cooked foods, parakeet seed mix, and canary/finch sized pellets.
One specific trait is their enthusiasm for sun bathing. They will completely extend their wings and fan their tail and lay on a perch in optimum position to receive as much of the sun's rays as they can, (so a UV light may be beneficial during winter months simply for "emotional" reasons...as well as exposure to real sunlight outdoors in a caged situation with supervision). I do provide shade and monitor them for any signs of overheating though, as they will sit directly in the sun for long periods if allowed.
They enjoy and do beak, chew and fuss with small, appropriate toys...however, because of the small feet and delicate toes, I do recommend that cotton or long, string-like toys be avoided.
One other trait worth mentioning is that these birds can be spooked easily, and when doing so, tend to go into a full flapping frenzy in their cage which can cause broken tail feathers or blood feathers. For that reason, I do not allow strangers to approach their cage directly, and if doing anything "out of the ordinary", such as moving a plant or piece of furniture in the same room, I will cover their cage momentarily to avoid this fear response.
Vocally, they are very quiet. My females will do a very soft burbling, or a squeak, or a bit louder of a cheep occasionally. They can also do a "growling" type sound when annoyed at having their territory invaded...however, they don't bite...rather they may try to "pick" at your hand. For this reason, they are pretty much defenseless against larger or more aggressive birds and simply should not be risked with birds who have the potential to injure them.
They are beautiful, delightful birds and suprisingly interactive on their own terms, but in some respects delicate, and care does need to be taken with them to provide a safe but stimulating environment.
From PrezKinney Nov 22 2008 12:22PM