More than 100 parakeet species have originated in warm regions around the world; they come in a variety of sizes and colors. The busy little budgerigar is only about 7 inches long, while the large Alexandrine parakeet can grow to about 23 inches. Breeders have created colors from pink to blue to white alongside the usual greens of most parakeets.
Originating from Australia, the budgerigar is a happy little parakeet regularly sold as a pet in the United States. Also known as a budgie, this parakeet typically has a black barred pattern over the head and wings with a green body. Breeders have developed many different colors and patterns. A well-socialized budgerigar often seeks out human interaction and may even repeat words and phrases back to you.
Several species of parakeets of the Psittacula genus originate from Africa and Asia. The Alexandrine parakeet is the largest species and has naturalized itself in numerous European countries. It is an independent bird that does not like much handling. Conversely, the Indian ring-necked parakeet can be very affectionate. Other parakeets of the Psittacula genus include the African ring-necked parakeet, the plum-headed parakeet and the rose-ringed parakeet.
The monk parakeet, also known as the quaker parrot, was popular in captive cages in the 1960s. This midsize parakeet is known for his ability to talk. Originally from South America, the bird was exported widely; some specimens escaped captivity and adapted to wild areas in Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois. They build huge, elaborate nests in the wild. In captivity, the monk accordingly goes to great lengths to arrange items in his cage.
Less common as pets, parakeets of the Brotogeris genus, with their yellow chevrons, white wings, orange chins and grey cheeks, originate in South America. They grow to about 8 inches. Brotogeris parakeets are social and energetic. Brotogeris parakeets make awesome watch birds, calling out in alarm when anything is amiss.
Lineolated or Barred Parakeet
Originally green, this little 6-inch parakeet has been bred to come in many beautiful colors. The bird's small size and fairly quiet voice makes him increasingly popular in the home cage. This species tends to chatter instead of screech, which is much easier on the ears. The lineolated parakeet is quick to learn and can be very entertaining. He loves to clown around.
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Parakeet
- Audubon: Budgerigar
- BirdChannel.com: Alexandrine Parakeet Birds
- The Wilson Bulletin: Natural History of the Monk Parakeet in Hyde Park, Chicago
- BirdChannel.com: The Psittacula Parakeets
- Organization of Professional Aviculturalists, Inc.: Brotogeris Parakeets
- BirdChannel.com: Lineolated Parakeet Species Profile
Based in Michigan, Keri Gardner has been writing scientific journal articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in such journals as "Disability and Rehabilitation" and "Journal of Orthopaedic Research." She holds a Master of Science in comparative medicine and integrative biology from Michigan State University.