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The Gorgeous Grass Parakeets – An Introduction to Some Popular Species

Scarlet Chested ParakeetAustralia’s Grass Parakeets (Genus Neophema) are so beautifully colored and graceful in flight, that it almost seems like they “should be” delicate and difficult to keep.  Yet they are very hardy, fairly quiet with pleasant “songs” and quite confiding and easy to tame.  Please see my article Introducing Australia’s Colorful Grass Parakeets to learn about their many good points.  Today we’ll meet a few of the more popular species. Read More »

Introducing Australia’s Colorful Grass Parakeets

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.


Further Reading

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.

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