Species group: Other Parrots
Other common names: Canary-winged Parakeet (a dated usage to avoid), White-winged Brotogeris
Scientific name: Brotogeris versicolurus
At one time, the Canary-winged Parakeet was one of the most widely imported pet parrots. This bird was adaptable, easy to tame, and easy to care for. Alas, it was also poorly understood – and not just by the scientists. Many breeders didn't work with the bird, because they thought it was too cheap to be worth the investment. As a result, the Canary-wing has become a rather unusual pet, although it is still admired by the people lucky enough to possess one.
In 1997, the Canary-winged Parakeet species Brotogeris versicolurus was split into two distinct species, the White-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris versicolurus), and the Yellow-chevroned Parakeet (Brotogeris chiriri). In days gone by, many people and many references referred to both species as the Canary-winged Parakeet, so you will need to be aware of it when researching your pet. The care of the two species is about the same, but you must properly identify your pet if you decide to breed your birds-- which you may very well do, since the species may be vanishing from aviculture.
In the wild, the White-winged Parakeet is a widespread, highly visible, successful species that ranges far and wide in South America. These bold, adaptable birds can be observed in a variety of habitats, and they have even become introduced to some highly urban areas. It's quite easy to find in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for just one example, and it may be the most successful introduced parrot species on Puerto Rico.
A smallish green parakeet. Telling White-winged Parakeets from Yellow-chevroned Parakeets is actually pretty easy. White-winged Parakeets have white on the wing, and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets do not. They both have yellow on the wings, so don't use that as a field mark.
72 grams (2.5 oz.)
22 centimeters (8.5 in.)
10 - 15 years
Behavior / temperament:
The White-winged 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. These two species can both learn to play cute tricks, such as lying on their back in your hand to play dead. Some of them can even learn to talk, and they are rated as better talkers than their cousin, the Grey-cheeked Parakeet.
While you can keep White-wings in 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. Interesting to know: An angry or scared White-winged Parakeet can lift its wings and clap them together to make a fairly loud sound. They can be jealous of other pets, and they probably won't hesitate to let you know about it.
White-winged 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 could be be a single pet's favorite perch. You can and should offer some toys, as pet owners report that White-wings play with their toys more often than Grey-cheeks do.
Because the pet White-wing 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 bird 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 pet 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.
The White-winged Parakeet is an adaptable bird that isn't particularly difficult to feed. 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 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
loving breed, big sweet heart, Parakeets Clown, best family birds
large flight cage, lightly mimicked sounds, healthy green feathers
White-Winged Parakeets Clown Around
When I was about nine years old, I was given my first two real jobs. In the mornings, I would teach swimming lessons for the American Red Cross at the local municipal pool, and on the way home from that job, I would stop by my elderly neighbor's house to perform a few tasks no longer in her skills range. In addition to collecting the mail, fixing her lunch, and helping her take and record her medicines, I would care for her White-Winged Parakeet.
Ava was a very pretty bird, with healthy green feathers, a very handsome if slim streak of pale yellow, and a disposition that was even more attractive. Around two years old, she was still a baby in a lot of ways, even if her life expectancy was short for a bird (around 10 years old). Mrs. Holstein had purchased Ava as a companion, but only a year later, she had suffered a stroke that left her slow and unsteady on her feet. When all my other tasks were complete, I would clean Ava's cage, change out her water and food, and bring her out for Mrs. Holstein to hold. And all the while, that sweet lady would tell me what her life Up Nawth had been.
I remember distinctly how nonchalantly Mrs. Holstein took Ava's climbing from her arm to her shoulder to her head. From the summit, Ava would call again and in again in shrill, tinny tones to interrupt our conversation, so like a child in her begging for treats and attention that Mrs. Holstein and I would laugh at her antics.
When it became necessary for Mrs. Holstein to enter assisted living arrangements, her daughter Hannah took special care to choose a home allowed small manageable pets and a sitter who could take extra special care of the lady in the seat and the lady on the perch.
To this day, I cannot remember one without the other and no memory comes without a smile to accompany it.
Of all the birds I have known well, and there are many, Ava was the easiest to maintain. Her cage was a corner unit of about five feet high, and this space was ideal for her tiny figure. She ate a balanced menu of pellets, fruits, veggies, and nuts/berries. Among her favorite pastimes were impersonations :) (lightly mimicked sounds), rope climbing, and scrabbling with toys.
If recommendations were based solely on a pet's disposition, I would recommend a White-Winged Parakeet to anyone. But these creatures are delicate and best suited to young adult (10+) or full grown adult owners..
From Nolaerus Mar 1 2014 11:58AM
I have only had my little bird for a month. He is a big sweet heart. He prefers to be with us all day, but is also content and quiet in his large flight cage. He loves everyone- young and old alike. He loves to climb into our pockets and take a nap. It is my opinion that this is one of the best family birds there are (I was grew up wwith a green wing macaw, an african grey, and an amazon parrot). The Canary Winged Parakeet of any variety is hard to find. If you see one for sale- don't miss out! This is a very happy, healthy, loving breed. I have done much research on them and am glad I chose this bird for my family. All of the good traits I read about them online is accurate!.
From thedirtyfeather Feb 16 2013 9:10AM