Alexandrine Parakeet – Care, Food & Profile
Alexandrine Parakeets are popular for their intelligence, stunning beauty, and talking abilities. These average size parrots belong to the Psittacidae family. Perhaps, even more important, is that they are named after Alexander the Great.
So, they are often associated with the elite and nobility. Apart from these, alexandrine parakeets love visitors. If someone new visits, you may become history to your parakeet until he/she leaves the house.
Moreover, they are independent, so they can keep themselves entertained when you are busy. Actually, there are several positive things to talk about alexandrine parakeets.
In this post, we will look at several things about these birds, including their origin, appearance, talking ability, diet, and cage requirements. So, let’s get started.
Alexandrine Parakeet Origin and Natural Habitat
Alexandrine parakeet or simply Alexandrian parrot traces its origin to Sri Lanka and East India to Hyderabad.
Specifically, they are found in Narcondam and Islands of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, most of Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, southern and central Myanmar, South and western Laos, central Thailand, and Southern Vietnam.
It is one of the largest Asiatic parakeets. In the wild, this species can survive in a variety of habitats. These include woodlands, semi-green forests, moist and dry forests, mangroves, riverine forests, and agricultural lands. Most of these areas are about 3000ft in elevation.
As mentioned above, the bird got its name from Alexander the Great who exported several birds from India to the Mediterranean and European regions. In Europe, these birds were prizes by nobles and royalty.
These parakeets fascinated both ancient Asians and Romans, where they treat alexandrine parakeets as their household pets. Some feral populations still exist around the world.
They are mainly found in Germany, Spain, Turkey, the UK, Belgium, Iran, Hong Kong, and the Arabian Peninsula. Early day historians believe that alexandrine parakeets were the first category of parakeets to inhabit Europe.
They gave it a scientific name eupatri, which is derived from Greek. Here the eu prefix is a description of nobility or looking good, while the suffix Patria is supposed to represent ancestry or fatherland.
Going by these translations, we can safely conclude that their name was supposed to mean noble fatherland or noble nation.
Alexandrine Parakeet Appearance
The long-tailed alexandrine parakeet comes with a bright red beak and is almost similar to smaller rose-ringed parakeets. But most of the body is green.
Besides the predominantly green body, they also have blue-grey cheeks markings on the cheeks and back of the neck. Other notable features are red patches on the shoulder, a yellow-green abdomen, and a massive red beak with yellow tips. The top of the tail is green and blue while the underside is mostly yellow.
Regardless of their age, alexandrine parakeets have a bold reddish-brown patch on the upper side of their wing converse or simply the shoulder patch. This is usually seen at their firms feathering when they are coming out of their nests.
One unique thing about these parakeets is that they are dimorphic in adulthood. During their early years, usually under 3 years, they are all similar in appearance, but as they grow older, the males will adopt additional colors.
That is why it is very easy to differentiate between adult males and females. The females do not have additional coloring on their bodies, while adult males feature a black and rose-colored ring on their necks.
The younger parakeets usually have shorter middle-tail feathers, so they tend to be shorter overall. As they grow, they acquire adult feathering at about 18 – 30 months.
However, some immature parakeets can show up these feathers as young as 12 months. You can be able to identify young male parakeets as soon as they display the pitch-black feathers.
Alexandrine Parakeet Food and Diet
In the wild, these birds love to group themselves into small flocks. Given that they are omnivorous, they survive on wild fruits, wild seeds, grain, nectar, and other vegetation. Occasionally, they chase after insects.
In their captivity, you can replicate this diet with a few adjustments. Keep in mind that, just like other parrots, alexandrine parakeets thrive on a variety of diets. But you should make sure that you provide a variety of foods such as vegetables, grains, fruits, tree nuts, some healthy seeds, and high-quality commercial pellets.
In terms of food proportion, make it 70% granulated pellets, 15% fruits and vegetables, pasta, and rice, 10% seeds or millet, and 5% of nuts. Pellets are usually prepared from a mixture of vegetables, and fruits.
Most of them should contain important vitamins and minerals. On an occasional basis, you can introduce dry insects and dry egg food. Be careful not to exceed seed mixture, as plain seed mixture is to blame for obesity and weakness of bones.
Some people have gotten good results from feeding these birds ¼ to ½ cup of pellets on top of ¼ to ½ of vegetables and fruits each day. You can adjust these amounts depending on your parakeet’s appetite.
In some cases, you may have to try a variety of foods to see what they like the most. For instance, you can experiment with mustard greens, kales, raw cucumber, lentils, yams, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, and beans.
You can also try fruits like berries, apples, bananas, pomegranate, currants, plums, and figs. The most important thing is to get rid of leftover foods to prevent spoilage.
Also, there are a number of food items that you should avoid. Do not feed your alexandrine parakeet with cabbages, avocado, fruit pits, raw beans, pear seed, lettuce, and chocolates.
Actually, avoid any kind of sweets or anything that has alcohol or caffeine. Most of these foods can be toxic to your bird.
Alexandrine Parakeet Weight and Size
Slender alexandrine parakeets can grow up to 25 inches long, but most of them are tail feathers. Adult parakeets weigh around 250 grams.
But this could vary depending on the diet, health, and activity level of the bird. When you provide the right environment, these birds will be happy and mature to their maximum weight and size.
Alexandrine Parakeet Lifespan
On average, alexandrine parakeets can liver for about 25 – 30 years. When they are kept busy, they are generally healthy birds.
The only issue is that when they get bored, they tend to pluck their feathers, which can affect their overall health and lifespan. In addition to this, they might suffer from some common ailments such as fatty liver disease when they are subjected to improper diets.
Alexandrine Parakeet Breeding
Alexandrine parakeets usually breed prior to winter. In the native, they breed from around November to April. Some flocks can start breeding from February. Unlike some birds, parakeets are a bit systematic when it comes to mating.
They don’t just find a partner and mate straightaway. A male alexandrine will have to court the female by stretching their wings, flashing eyes, bowing, and giving more than average attention to the female.
As regards to dominance, females are the dominant gender in this species. In most cases, they can be reluctant towards mating. This could be the reason why male and female alexandrines don’t get along so well.
But once the male parakeet gains the trust of a female, they won’t have a difficult time when the mating season arrives. A female can lay up to 4 eggs in a period of about a week. Thereafter the incubation period follows, which is about 3 – 4 weeks.
The good thing is that breeding in captivity is not as hard as in the wild. To initiate the process, just create a conducive environment for both males and females just before the mating season.
After four weeks of incubation, the young parakeets are hatched. During this stage, their eyes are still covered and almost naked, so they need extra warmth. After about four weeks, the young birds start to see but they can’t feed on their own. They will only wean when they have started learning how to fly.
Alexandrine Parakeet Talking Ability
Alexandrine parakeets are natural talkers. They can emit high-pitched screech that is deeper than those of its similar parakeets. On top of this, they possess above-average mimicking abilities. In your home, they can copy almost all household sounds.
In fact, they love mimicking human speech. Most people love them because they possess a variety of calls, including loud and deep klak sounds, ringing sounds, and some gr-aak calls. Their alarm calls are very clear and deep.
They can be quite talkative when they partner with the right owner. Moreover, they are quick to learn a few tricks and vocabulary. Some can even be taught some acrobatics. What makes it appealing to most people is that they are loyal and easy to band with people.
That is why they are tipped as a wonderful family pet. Both experienced and novice bird keepers will enjoy the companionship of these birds. In spite of their strong and huge beaks, these parakeets are not very nippy.
Alexandrine Parakeet Cage Size
Alexandrine parakeets are not small birds, so you should provide a bigger cage. The cage should not only be spacious, but it should also be clean and secure. An ideal cage should be at least 36 X 24 inches.
The bigger, the better. This will enable them to move around with ease. On top of these, make sure to check the strength of the wire used to construct the cage. These parakeets have strong beaks.
Apart from providing a day cage, you can also construct a sleeping cage. Since your parakeet is not active during this time, the sleeping cage should be about 20 x 20 inches, but make sure to provide a height that can take care of the tail feathers.
The sleep cage can also act as a hospital for your bird just in case it becomes sick. In all cases, try to provide a gage that is much bigger than what you think it can house an alexandrine.
To encourage activity within the cage, introduce a horizontal bar. This will enable your bird to climb. You can also introduce play gym and flying exercise, though not a must.
You can also include foraging toys and several blocks of wood to chew on. As for the perch, use at least 3 shapes or sizes. In an ideal scenario, you can have a Manzanita perch type, a 1-inch perch, and a chewing perch.
Besides observing internal cage requirements, you should also provide plenty of exercise to your bird. Alexandrines are naturally active, so you should provide enough space to run around. They will get bored if they are idle.
An adult alexandrine parakeet will require at least 3 hours of exercise a day outside the cage. These playtimes need to be in a safe bird-proof area and should be supervised. Note that these birds are very curious, so you won’t want to let them roam unattended.
These birds are not only friendly to humans but they also extend their warm nature to other birds. So, you might not have trouble if you put them with other birds. The only issue is that they may get aggressive towards each other.
Since they have huge and powerful beaks, you should avoid keeping alexandrine parakeets in the same cage with smaller birds. But if you cousin birds such as the Indian ring-neck parakeet, they will enjoy each other’s company.
Are Alexandrine Parakeet Noisy?
As alluded earlier, alexandrine parakeets are very social and affectionate birds. In a family setting, you will find them mimic people and household sounds. If they don’t see anyone or don’t have a companion bird, they might wake you up with a flock call in the morning or evening.
However, to some people, these birds can be noisy and loud. So, if you are staying in an apartment, condominium, or a compact neighborhood, alexandrine parakeets may not be your best choice.
Alexander parakeets are lovely and intelligent birds that can make good pets for anyone who can be patient and willing to train them the right way. But there are a few cautions that need to be considered.
Daily interaction with any parrot is necessary for their happiness and wellbeing. When left unattended, they can easily get bored and pick feathers or display other behavioral problems.
They are also good chewers, meaning that they can chew your home or household items if they get a chance. If you can take care of these few factors, then alexandrine parakeets will make your home a lovely place.