Species group: Other Parrots
Other common names: Canary-winged Parakeet (a dated usage you should avoid)
Scientific name: Brotogeris chiriri
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 it.
The Yellow-Chevroned Parakeet is a widespread, highly visible species that ranges far and wide in South America. This bold, adaptable species can be observed in a variety of habitats, and they have even become introduced to some highly urban areas throughout the hemisphere. For example, The California Parrot Project tracks the expanding range of this species in urban and suburban Los Angeles, where it has become very successful feeding on cultivated date palms and silk floss trees.
A smallish green parakeet. Telling the two Canary-winged Parakeet species apart is easy: White-winged Parakeets have white on the wing, and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets do not. Both species have some yellow on the wing, 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 Yellow-Chevroned 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 birds can 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 Yellow-Chevron 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. They can be jealous of other pets, and they probably won't hesitate to let you know about it. A lonely, neglected bird can be at risk for feather-plucking. Fortunately, they love to ride around with you, so they're easy to make into a constant companion.
Yellow-chevroned 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 Yellow-chevrons play with their toys more often than Grey-cheeks do.
Because pet Brotogeris spend 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 parakeet 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 Yellow-chevroned 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