Home | Bird Behavior | The Rose-Ringed (Ringneck) Parakeet – A Great Pet and Unlikely NYC Resident – Part 2

The Rose-Ringed (Ringneck) Parakeet – A Great Pet and Unlikely NYC Resident – Part 2

Grey Turquoise Female, Turquoise Lacewing MalePlease see Part I of this article to read about the natural history of the Ringneck Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) and it’s survival as an introduced species in foreign habitats ranging from Zanzibar to New York City.

A Pet of Socrates

Ringneck Parakeets have much to recommend them as pets.  Indeed, they are among the first Psittacines to have been kept in captivity, with Indian records dating back 3,000 years.  They are also thought to have been the first parrot species to arrive in Europe…Socrates is said to have owned one!

Keeping Ringnecks

Bold, beautiful and inquisitive, Ringneck Parakeets bond readily to people and usually accept the entire family as opposed to only 1 individual (as is common with many other parrots).  Owners often report that Ringnecks require less daily contact than do their relatives, and remain friendly and content when kept by those with a 9-5 type work schedule.  Stunning blue, cinnamon, lutino albino, gray and other color morphs have been produced, but the natural green is also quite nice.

A large cage is essential…height is particularly important so that the exceedingly long, beautiful tail feathers are not damaged.  An Outdoor Aviary, while not essential, will allow your birds to really show off their acrobatic talents.

Courtship and Breeding

Blue mutation Rose-Ringed ParakeetIt is our good fortune that Ringneck Parakeets are not all that difficult to breed in captivity, as their courtship is one of the parrot world’s most entertaining.  Males display by repeatedly lifting one foot while rearing up to their full height, strutting about and feeding the female.  Receptive females roll their eye in a most endearing way, spread their wings, rub beaks with the male and engage in circular head movements – all in all, something to see if possible!

Mated females spend more time than most other parrots in nest-hole selection, inspection and preparation.  Once a suitable site has been selected, she will gnaw at the entrance hole until it suits her tastes, and then shred wood chips to cover the bottom.

The female incubates her eggs alone, and is fed by the male during the 22-25 days it takes for the eggs to hatch.  The male continues to feed her and the nestlings for another week or so, after which the female joins him in foraging for her brood.

Sexual maturity is reached in 2-3 years, but courtship behavior is often observed among juveniles.

Further Reading

Please see the California Parrot Project Website for a comprehensive report on feral Ringneck Parakeets in California.

Please check out the video “What a Ringneck will do for Food” – very funny!



Breeding pair at Sweet Skies Aviary image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Fruitwerks, author Corey Carpenter
Blue Mutation Rose-ringed Parakeet image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Snowmanradio and Caesar, author Tanya Dropbear


  1. avatar

    what happen if the male runaway when the female is hatching,who will feed the female

  2. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Female birds of many species are often able to raise chicks alone; in the wild, a few may perish, but if fed well captive females can sometimes raise all their young.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  3. avatar

    Hello there, I have a pair of indian ringnecks (male and female). I purchased them as a bonded pair ready to breed. Lately ive been watching the birds court each other and ive seen the male feed the female. I checked the breeding box and there is 1 egg in there that was laid on the 8th of this month. I know they lay every 2nd day and they start sitting on the eggs after the 2nd egg or so has been laid. My problem is that there is still only 1 egg in there and the hen has been sitting on the egg ever since it was laid. She pops out every now and then for water and to get fed by the male then she goes back in the box. Ive googled IRN’S laying 1 egg and not much info comes up at all. Should i expect the 1 egg to not be fertile? or is there a chance it could be fertile? Could she be egg bound? Im just a little worried because i cant find any information on a “breeding pair” to only lay one egg. Thanks for your time

    Kind Regards

  4. avatar

    Hello Asley, Frank Indiviglio here.

    I just noticed that I failed to post my response to your question…I had answered when you wrote, but somehow neglected to actually post the response. My apologoes.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Congrats on the egg – it’s not common to lay only 1, but it does happen. As for fertility, just let her incubate – she’ll abandon it after the normal incubation time if it does not hatch.

    Egg bound birds exhibit clear signs of distress – rapid, labored breathing, puffed feathers, straining movements. They usually wind up on the cage floor and produce odd-looking droppings or no droppings at all. If she’s leaving the nest and being fed by the male, it is not likely that she is egg bound, but watch her carefully for a few more days.

    Good luck and please let me know what happens,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar


    I live in Australia
    I saw this post and I thought I could use some help from you. I have a yellow Ringneck 1,7 months old and recently,4 days ago bought a male Ringneck that is 2 years old. We don’t know if the first Ringneck 1,7 months old is a girl or boy but we think it’s a girl. We also put a nesting box attached to the cage. I was curious to know if only females roll their eye in a most endearing way, spread their wings? Do females dance as well? Also she has been chasing him since he came,they started to get better now as in eating together,just a bit of fight between them. Is she/he acting like this because it did not have anyone before or is it because it’s a female ,so it’s normal? It looks like she is trying to court him by feeding him or kissing him but he is not really interested. So what do you think? Is it a female or a male? From what I know males court females,so I am confused … Please help me to understand the difference. Thanks

  6. avatar

    Hi Mariana,

    Females court in the way you describe; they can also be identified by the less well-defined or bright ring about the next, although in some of the color mutations this is not reliable. The male should be sexually mature by that age, but many do not breed until 3 years of age. Also common for pairs to be on different cycles (hormonal) due to the effects of captive light cycles, etc. Some also become imprinted on people and do not accept mates. Some birds simply do not take to one another…they can be picky in that regard. As long as there is no serious fighting, they should settle down and may breed in time Please keep me posted, enjoy, Frank

  7. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Thank you for your prompt response. They are both yellow colour and yes I can see a bit a white ring around the neck. The male does not have a ring around the neck however he just recently had babies before we took him from the other owner.I wasn’t really interested to find out if our Ringneck was a male or female(we had her since she was a baby) but since we bought the male I have been trying to tell by their behaviour as we want them to breed. The male is not tamed but our female talks a lot

  8. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Thank you for your prompt response. They are both yellow colour and yes I can see a bit of white ring around the neck. The male does not have a ring around the neck however he just recently had babies before we took him from the other owner.I wasn’t really interested to find out if our Ringneck was a male or female(we had her since she was a baby) but since we bought the male I have been trying to tell by their behaviour as we want them to breed. The male is not tamed but our female talks a lot and is tamed. When we want to hold her and spend time with her like we usually do,she is following him and wants back to the cage to him always trying to kiss and play with him. She also dances from side to side and talks to him. I was going to do a DNA but I thought I could figure out if she is really a female without doing the DNA. I had budgies in the past and I know their behaviour and I thought ringnecks would behave the same but I see that they are not. Do you think if our female would be a male would they try and court each other? Also I have noticed that the female goes to the nest and talks only puts the head inside,she doesn’t really go inside. Yes the fights are less and they seem to settle down,but they started fighting from a piece of bread crispy I noticed them yesterday doing it so. I had to keep them separated for 2-3 days as they were butting each other. First she was biting him and then he was very confident and biting her each time she was trying to get closer to him and kiss him. Thank you again and I’ll keep you posted. Have a good day.

  9. avatar

    Hi Marianna,

    Thanks for the update; based on behavior, I’d say the original bird is a female. Same sex pairs will form, however, and captivity / taming changes all the rules, but her behaviors are typically female. Glad to hear your experience with budgies is helpful in getting them to co-exist; you’ll be able to tell when he is ready to breed I’m sure, Enjoy, Best, Frank

  10. avatar

    Hi Frank and thank you again for your quick response. Today when I was cleaning the male sat on the floor and the female followed him and started kissing him and she went on top of him a few times…so now I am really confused. I watched a clip and the male lifts one foot but she does not do that,only courts him. Anyway I thought I would mention it to you. She also went inside the nest a few times today knocking in there. I love animals and I am very passionate to watch them closely what they do,they are so wonderful and amazing to watch. Some of them are so smart. I will keep you posted and let you know what happens in the end. Thank you again for your time. Have a great day!

  11. avatar

    Hi Mariana,

    Thanks for the update. Females that are ready to mate may act as you describe; it sometimes looks like an actual male mating attempt but is likely just thwarted courtship behavior. She may become aggressive in time, so watch out for fighting Glad to hear of your interests…you’re in the right country to indulge them! I often write about Australia’s reptiles and amphibians..I found this new discovery very interesting. Enjoy, best, Frank

  12. avatar

    Hi again,

    I had a look on the link below and it is very interesting indeed and it looks like you are very busy too,writing posts and info for each type of animal.

    Oh,about my birds I find it very amazing and not only that I was not sure about her but my husband says he is 99% that it’s a female. I enjoy everyday new discoveries in animals and it’s funny how they behave. We also have a rabbit and it’s so friendly,when he hears our voice he comes to the cage smelling and waiting. It’s a dwarf rabbit,grey and so cute. My children love being around them but I am afraid that they are a bit rough sometimes with the animals so I’m working on explaining to my 2 sons that each animal is different and need different attention and gentleness. If with a dog you chase him and play rough with a bird you have to be different. Anyway,nice to talk to someone that has so much knowledge like you and I hope one day to know as much as you do. Many thanks and we’ll keep you informed. Thanks for the advises. 🙂

  13. avatar

    Thanks for the kind words, Mariana. I’ve spent all of my life working in zoos and the field; some work with kids as well – glad you are involving your children. I’m out with my little nephew 1-2 times each week…braking him in: https://www.facebook.com/frank.indiviglio.9/media_set?set=a.571193306256418.1073741834.100000972624553&type=3

    Let me know if you need anything, Frank

  14. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I had a look on Facebook and I saw you with your nephew,nice pic. About my birds nothing happened between them and still was annoyed about Cheeky my bird’s behaviour so I did a DNA test only to turn out that she is a he:/ Big surprise especially that we had another male. The seller was happy to exchange the male with a 3 years old female and now we’re waiting to see what happens. The seller was saying that they start breeding in August and they finish by now before it gets too hot so I was a bit disappointed because I really wanted to see some babies but I guess if we make sure it does not get too hot inside where I keep them, maybe they will still breed. I hope you are all well. Best wishes before Christmas.

  15. avatar

    Thanks, Mariana,

    Best to keep them on a somewhat natural light/temp cycle, so that they breed in season. many will breed at other times, but hormone flow tends to become disrupted, and one mmay be ready to breed when the other is not, which leads to aggression, etc.

    A happy and healthy Christmas season to you and yours, enjoy, Frank

  16. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I have noticed very different behaviour with our male since we brought the girl. She keeps bitting him and hurting him and he is very scared of her,runs away from her and wants to get out of the cage. She looks very confident in the cage and eats but we had to keep them separate since Monday. Interesting is that when the other male was here,our male would chase the other one and got used to each other in 2-3 days but not these two. My mum came for a visit and although she does not like birds she adors our male that talks and copies my voice. Is very interesting to watch their behaviour and what they like and dislike. I really hope that they will like each other and that they won’t hurt each other anymore!!!


  17. avatar

    Hi Mariana,

    It is very interesting…personalities vary greatly, and it can be difficult to pair them up, both need to “agree”! When I’ve kept groups in zoos, or observed in wild, I saw a great deal of trial-and error when it came to breeding. As hormones change, etc, it may become easier to introduce. Keep cages next to each other for a time, see how they interact through the bars. Enjoy, Best, Frank

  18. avatar

    Thank you Frank,it’s been a week now and she still keeps bitting him and hurt him,but I keep them separate,I only put him in the other cage for a short time to see what happens and then I put them separate. I am just just confused with my male’sbehaviour and thinking maybe the laboratory gave me the wrong DNA result and my male it’s a female! You think that can be possie? I will keep you posted.

  19. avatar

    Hi Mariana, Thanks for the update. Feather/DNA sexing is generally accurate, but captive conditions and also the bird’s prior history – how it was raised, etc. can radically alter behavior. We see this even in huge zoo exhibits where environmental conditions are fairly well-controlled. It may be best to separate them for a few weeks before trying to reintroduce, as things will nto likely change overnight. If they still seem hostile when cages are in d=same room, perhaps relocate one to another room if that is an option. I hope all goes well, pl keep me posted, Frank

  20. avatar

    Thank you Frank,I’ll do that. I’ll keep you posted. Sorry about my mistakes,I only just realised that.

  21. avatar

    Hope to hear some good news, enjoy, Frank

  22. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Happy New Year to you first of all
    Not very good news…The girl was still chasing and hurting him for a month…He was terrified by her even if I tried to separate them. He has not been talking since she came. So having enough of this and tried everything I could possible do for them I started looking for a tame female. I spoke to a person who sales parrots and said that it is bad that one is tamed and one untamed as it will make mine untamed,not only that but she is older with 1 year and ready to breed and he is not (cause he is not not even 2 and she is already 3)which is why she keeps hurting him. So I moved her in a different room now and selling her and bought a tamed 14 months old girl who kisses and loves to play. She had been with two other parrots but not her kind and they used to fight a lot,the other kind would hurt her and would not let her eat or play with anything,she would always have to wait and eat after them,so she had been also stressed and sad.I only had her for 2 days and she seems comfortable here with us,she does not try to hurt him but they argue about toys or food. I just hope they will get along well,as I don’t like to see them arguing and feeling sad or stressed. I do have 2 cages next to each other with the door opened so they can freely go from one cage to another one. I want my boy to start talking again soon.
    Thank you for your time.

  23. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    Happy New Year to you all.
    I wrote a post before but I am not sure if you received it or not as it didn’t appear to me as sent so forgive me if I am sending you this message again but I would rather be sure you got my message.
    So the female is still hurting him,tried everything I could but nothing seem to work and I spoke to a person who sells parrots and he said that she is probably hurting him because she is mature(3 years old,had babies before) and wants to breed and he is not ready as he is not even 2 years. Also she is untamed and it will make him untamed,so I bought 2 days ago,another female (14 months old tamed) and separated the untamed one,she is now in a big cage outside like she used to live before we got her here.They are both stressed,him from previous female and this tamed female had been also hurt and stressed from other 2 parrots that are not her kind,so I hope that they will get along well this time. She does not seem to want to hurt him or chase him but they argue from toys or food. Should I keep them together or separate? They have two separate cages but I leave their door open so they can freely go from one cage to another. Am I doing something wrong?
    Thank you for your time.

  24. avatar

    Hi Mariana,

    Sounds like you’ve made some good decisions and are proceeding in the right direction. It’s very common for agresiion to occur when one enters breeding condition and the other does not…often due to age, as breeder mentioned; also captive conditions – temperature, light, seasons, diet, humidity – change the timing of reproductive activity; not all birds of the same species will be ready to breed at the same time; this can also lead to conflicts. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict how all will go, as captive conditions are so different from what occurs in the wild. Same as to past experience…hand raised birds or those that have been with others all react in different ways when re;-located and placed with new birds. Again, we can make educated guesses but captivity bears no resemblance to their natural environment; best to do as yu have been – watch carefully and adjust accordingly. It’s common for birds to squabble over food, toys, favored perches…as long as there are no injuries, and each can feed etc and none appear stressed, this is not a problem. A happy and healthy new year to you and yours, Frank

  25. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thank you for your information and explaining everything so clearly. It looks like they are getting better, slowly but at least is positive behaviour. They argue from time to time but nothing serious,which makes me happy 🙂 I just hope he will start talking soon like he used to,I know he does not talk now because he is a bit sad and stressed with the new girl and the situation but I think it will get better as they will get to know each other better and feel more comfortable with each other. I will keep you updated.

  26. avatar

    Hi Mariana,

    Thanks, glad it was useful. I forgot to mention…parrots sometimes stop talking when they are kept with other birds; seems they transfer attention, communication to the cagemate; (birds are better company for each other than are we!); doesn’t always happen, very individual – sometimes it’s just the change in circumstances, etc; bird thrown off usual behavior for awhile; but just keep in mind that lack of talking may not indicate stress. best, frank

  27. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    You are right Frank. Just thought that because when he had the male first, after 2-3days when he got used to one another and they were feeding each other,my bird started talking. But after we brought the female that hurt him all the time,he stopped talking until now. So I was assuming that he will talk again but he needs to feel comfortable again,as he does not look comfortable yet as he is still a bit scared of the new bird but I think he is getting better each day. Thank you for all the encouragements and information,I have learned so much. I’ll keep you posted. Have a great week.

  28. avatar

    Thanks, Mariana, I think you’re on the right track, just sometimes they surprise us – they are complicated little beasts! Enjoy, best Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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