The grass parakeets (7 species in the genus Neophema) are small, active birds that, by departing from “typical” parakeet behavior, offer a delightful change of pace to serious bird keepers. For some reason, these colorful, hearty parakeets are not as popular in the USA as they are abroad. However, several species are well-established in captivity, and it is the rare aviculturist who does not become a devoted fan after keeping a pair.
Unique Flight Behavior
Grass parakeets are strong, swift fliers that zip about erratically and change direction frequently. They therefore show themselves to best advantage in an outdoor aviary, although their small size and trusting nature allows for maintenance in large indoor cages as well.
Several species, including the ever-popular Bourke’s parakeet (Neophema bourkii) and the brilliantly-colored turquoise parakeet (N. pulchella) have the unusual habit of flying about at dusk and even after dark. In fact, the gorgeous colors and broken, swooping flight of dusk-flying turquoise parakeets has led famed parrot biologist Joseph Forshaw to describe them as resembling “multi-colored bats”.
Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Beauties
Each grass parakeet species is beautiful in its own way – the muted grays of the Bourke’s parakeet are infused with subtle shades of pastel pink while the turquoise parakeet is flamboyantly clad in brilliant green, red and turquoise blue.
Keeping Grass Parakeets
Grass parakeets are quite confiding, even in the wild, and often try walking away from disturbances before taking flight. They adjust readily to captivity and breed well, especially in outdoor aviaries (most are, despite their delicate appearances, relatively cold-hearty). They are, in contrast to most of their relatives, quite easy on live plants, and get along very well with finches, painted quail and other small aviary birds.
You can read more about the natural history of the turquoise parakeet at http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=276.
Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Danweh.