Grey-cheeked Parakeet

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Is the Grey-cheeked Parakeet right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Grey-cheeked Brotogeris; Orange-winged Parakeet; Orange-flanked Parakeet; Pocket Parrot; Fire-winged Parakeet

Scientific name: Brotogeris pyrrhopterus

The basics:
The Grey-cheeked Parakeet was a popular, inexpensive green “pocket parrot” back in the days when entire flocks could be imported from the wild. They can be a little screechy, but they're active and energetic, they can be trained to go to anyone, and they love to play on their special person more than they love any toy. Unfortunately, these little treasures have become tough to find.

During the 1980s, when they were imported and sold at a very low price, most breeders didn't care to work with them, because they could not sell them for enough money to pay for their investment. When legal imports ceased in 1992, most breeders were slow to react, although Robbie Harris may be singled out for her patient work with this difficult genus. Today, a pet Grey-cheeked Parakeet is an unusual treasure.

The Grey-cheeked Parakeet had a small historical range in southwest Ecuador and northwest Peru, and its population has been in free-fall since the 1970s, causing the bird to be red-listed as an endangered species. It was over-collected legally in the 1970s and 1980s, and illegal trapping has continued after export of the birds from Peru to the United States became illegal in 1992. Know your breeder, and do not risk purchasing a smuggled bird from an unethical source.

Grey-cheeks have also lost ground to widespread destruction of their habitat, since they prefer deciduous forest – the very type of forest that is most attractive to loggers. As a final insult, when land is converted to crops or grazing, it prevents the forest from returning, yet sometimes the Grey-cheeks are persecuted when they are forced to eat agricultural crops. This little bird faces a tough time in the wild.

A small green parrot with a blue crown and gray cheeks, this parakeet shows a flash of orange-red under the wing when it takes flight.

45 - 60 grams (1.5 - 2 oz.)

Average size:
20 centimeters (8 in.)

10 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Grey-cheeked 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. This species in particular is noted for refusing toys, and it is better to teach them one of their favorite tricks, such as lying on their back in your hand to play dead. Some of them can even learn to talk.

While you can keep Grey-cheeks in aviaries or 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. Also, most people who have only one Grey-cheek rate them as quiet birds. They may even get them to learn a few words or whistles. But most people who have two or more Grey-cheeks find out that these birds know how to squawk if they have others around to egg them on.

Grey-cheeked 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 will be a single pet Grey-cheek's favorite perch. You can and should offer some toys, but many owners report that these birds much prefer playing with or on their humans to the toys.

Because the Grey-cheek 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 Grey-cheek 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 Grey-cheek 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.

Although the Grey-cheeked Parakeet is a smaller species, it can be susceptible to gout. If you choose a pellet-based diet, consult with your avian veterinarian or breeder, and select a lower protein variety. 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 still 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


Beloved Parakeet, wonderful species, bright feathered friend, sweet little bird


temperature fluctuations, high pitch


lessor known birds, termite mounds, Peru

Helpful Grey-cheeked Parakeet Review

Grey-cheeked Parakeet

From PackTbone Aug 20 2014 10:46AM


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